On July 3, 2000, after 16 years of creative effort and with the help of over 40 different Bible translations, German artist Willy Wiedmann (1929-2013) completed his life’s work: 3,333 images contained in 19 leporellos (accordion-style book) depicting the Old and New Testaments. Today, it is known as the Wiedmann Bible, and it is the longest illustrated Bible ever created.
Making its first visit to the U.S., the Wiedmann Bible exhibition will open to the public at Museum of the Bible in Washington, D.C., on Saturday, October 27, 2018.
After Wiedmann’s death in 2013, his son Martin wanted to complete his father’s mission: to share the Bible with the world. By 2015, Martin had built a team of experts to support him in this project, raising awareness of his father’s work in Germany and Switzerland, and displaying the Bible at numerous galleries, churches and conferences.
Wilhelm Richard Heinrich “Willy” Wiedmann was a musician, composer, visual artist, church painter, gallery owner, curator, husband, and father. Wiedmann called his own artistic style Polycon, made up of multiple panels comprised of geometric forms that overlap, intertwine and complement each other. The different compositions create pictures within pictures, which can be perpetuated endlessly.
His vision was to create a complete, illustrated Bible in his Polycon painting style as a continuous visual narrative. He pored over the words of the Bible, using different translations to aid his understanding. He explained his hope that “the ones who are afraid of reading the Bible because they often do not understand the written text, can benefit from it.”
The museum exhibition will include
- All nineteen original leporellos on display
- A recreation of the artist’s attic studio with his personal items—paints, brushes, containers, tables, reference books, newspaper articles, sketches, notebooks, and more
- The printed version of the Bible used for the world record-setting event for the world’s largest concertina book in 2017
- An interactive app for exploring the Wiedmann Bible
- An interactive kiosk to explore all the images from the Bible in English, German, and Spanish
- Printed editions of the Wiedmann Bible
- An immersive projection room featuring images of the Wiedmann Bible set to jazz music
The Wiedmann Bible temporary exhibition will run for six months from October 27, 2018 through April 28, 2019. Entry to the exhibition is included with general admission.
For more information, visit https://www.museumofthebible.org/.