Special calligraphic treatments in The Saint John’s Bible are designed to celebrate the text and are perfect for well-known passages such as the Sermon on the Mount. Artist Thomas Ingmire gives special attention to the Beatitudes, writing them with a style and movement that allows the words to become the art itself. The color and electricity of the page catches the eye; however, it is always the text and its challenging meaning that reaches us.
You see two sides in this special treatment. The right side is a repetitive, jagged, and colorful treatment of the word blessed. The letters are scattered randomly in a multicolored pattern, here and there coming together to form the word. The overall effect recalls mosaic decoration, a traditional artistic medium dating to the pre-classical times in the Near East. It was widely used in early Christian churches for both decorations and narrative scenes. It also reminds many people of the glass windows in Saint John’s Abbey Church.
Although readers notice the gold lettering first, with closer observation they discover fractured blesseds on the right side. Together they express Jesus’ rich teaching in the Beatitudes.