Thursday, November 01, 2007

Give Thanks

This month, in honor of Thanksgiving, I'm going to make the effort to post something I'm thankful for each day. If I don't post one day, I'll do two the next. I'll probably take a break for a few days around Thanksgiving itself because I'll be busy cooking, but my goal is to post each day.

Anybody want to join me? Here we go.

Today I'm thankful for art, specifically painting. This morning I got to visit with one of our Art Professors while she was hanging some student pieces in the library. The talent expressed in the painting was just amazing. I'm always impressed by the amount of courage people show when they paint and share their creations with other. Two years ago I spent hours walking around the Chicago Art Institute only looking at the paintings. Viewing Van Goghs, Monets, and Cassatts in person was both an emotional and spiritual experience. Our human ability to create beauty is one of the many ways we are made in God's image.

Some of my favorite paintings are from a group of young Englanders from the 1800's. Known as the Pre-Raphaelites, they were a very creative group who not only painted but also wrote poetry and short stories. Many of their paintings are illustrations of literary pieces. They gloried in detail and found beauty in the smallest places.

This one is Edward Burne-Jones' The Beguiling of Merlin which portrays the moment when Nimue led Merlin into a trap that kept him from helping Arthur out of the sticky business with Guenevere and Lancelot. Look at the expression in Merlin's eyes and Nimue's direct, intentional gaze. Can you count the individual flowers? Other painters might have minimized the individual appearance of the blossoms, but to a Pre-Raphaelite the details were the beauty.

This piece was used as the cover art for one of my favorite novels, Posession: A Romance written by A.S. Byatt. If you love literature and haven't read this book, you should. It's pretty amazing. It's very literary and brainy and makes libraries seem like interesting places to be. Gotta love any book that can do that.

No comments: