Elsy Menko – Country – Literature

Baruch (de) Spinoza (1632-1677) was a Dutch philosopher, free thinker, author and correspondent of Portuguese Sephardi origin. He was one of the early thinkers of the Enlightenment and modern biblical criticism. His highly controversial ideas regarding the authenticity of the Hebrew Bible lead to his excommunication at age 23 from the Jewish community.

His magnum opus, the Ethics, was published posthumously in the year of his death. The work earned him recognition as one of Western philosophy’s most important thinkers.

I have positioned Spinoza’s portrait against the first page of part two of the treatise: Ethices Pars secunda, De Natura & Origine mentis (Ethics, Part two, On the nature and origin of the mind). The white background material was dyed in coffee. The text is handstitched in black and the illuminated capital letter T – much in line with illuminated manuscripts of that time – was embroidered with colored DMC and some metallic threads.

Detail view:

Reference pictures:


  1. Wow what beautiful needlework and applique. Beautiful.

  2. Beautifully executed with great attention to detail, lovely work with some great stitching. Well done.

  3. This is really a beautiful quilt with Spinoza’s portrait and a page of his Magnum Opus. Your embroidery is exquisite and the likeness with his portrait stunning. Bravo.

  4. Dyeing the background fabric, the intricate embroidery and appliqué gives your design an antique look, just like the pages of the illuminated manuscripts. Well done.

  5. Spinoza was not an easy choice! bravo for being so well done! the portrait is very well executed and resembling and the embroidery of the text and the illumination very very well done!

  6. A powerful portrait coupled with some detailed embroidery. A great illustration of the man and his work.

  7. Perfection! The design, the message and the execution play together in your piece. My admiration goes to your embroidery.

  8. As always, I really appreciate your handmade embroidery. And the translation you gave to the story of Spinoza’s life.

  9. Wauw, this is so beautiful done: the portrait and the hand embroidery are great!!!

  10. Beautiful hand stitching and the portrait is very accurately worked. The details are wonderful and the design is very effectove. Wonderful work

  11. the use of a dyed background fabric is very effective and your handwork is beautiful.

  12. studiociboulette

    Beautiful handwork. I love it!

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

%d bloggers like this: