Cain was the first in the Bible to spill blood, the first to commit murder.
When Cain and his brother Abel presented their offering to God, God was pleased with Abel’s lamb and not Cain’s crop from the land.
Out of jealousy and rage Cain murdered his brother.
When God asked Cain “Where is your brother, his blood cries out to me”.
Cain responded “Am I my brothers keeper, should I know where he is?”
This narrative inspired my first portrait of Cain. I intentionally chose wool to drape over his body to signify the lamb slain both in offering, as well as a parallel to Christ’s sacrifice one day.
Blood stains his cloak in an almost lifelike face on his shoulder. His hands covered in his brothers blood, a visual metaphor to the guilt and shame that would mark his life forever.
The second narrative I chose was the brother of Joseph, Reuben.
Joseph is known throughout biblical narrative and in modern day musical productions such as Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dream Coat.
Less is known about his brothers, torn up inside with jealousy over their youngest brothers love and adoration from their father.
Though all of the brothers took part in selling their brother into slavery it was Reuben who chose to cover the famed coat in blood to deceive their father into believing his favorite son was killed.
This narrative held the threat of murder and the shame and guilt of the actions taken out by a brother.
Judas, the ultimate narrative of betrayal.
Like a brother Judas was a disciple of Christ.
When Jesus told his disciples one of them would betray him, they all denied that they would.
However, for 10 shekels Judas betrayed Christ which led to Jesus’s Crucifixion.
Judas could not live with this guilt and eventually hung imself.
King Abimelech was one of the worst offenders on the familial betrayl narratives I found.
Abimelech sacrificed all 70 of his brothers on the pagan alter to take the throne, his pagan patrons gave him 70 shekels and the promise of his kingship. A truly horrific display of betrayl for his own selfish gain.