Wednesday, May 5, 2010

Update 5/5/10 Day 177

Dear friends,

"A work of art is the trace of a magnificent struggle." ~Robert Henri

I am far from an expert on fine art. Everything I know about the great painters I learned from my dear friend Chris while we were tromping around Greenwich Village together as poor college students at NYU. "Bubba", (our mutual nickname for each other), spent time showing me from his collection of art books, many of the great painters of the world. Then he took me to the Metropolitan Museum of Art for a look at the originals of the masters. I remember seeing my first "real" Rembrandt there, and standing in front of it, crying like a baby. I didn't understand why, but I kind of do now. In most of Rembrandt's (my favorite painter of all time) paintings I experience the "magnificent struggle" of the artist to tell the truth. This unmatched Dutch master has a melancholy streak (to me anyway), that makes me relate to him across years, across cultures, across the ages.

The Book says we are made in God's image. My puny understanding only gets that a little bit, but I really think part of it is this: He's the Creator, we're little creators. Each one of us has a thing inside that wants to express some facet of the Great One's world. Some do it on canvas, some at the stove, some with ink and paper, some with their voice. Some do it while they bring healing to a sick person in the hospital, some do it in a classroom full of noisy toddlers. Some build, some design, some do the math (that one is NOT me). "Whatever you do, do heartily, as unto the Lord..."

Today Rembrandt reminded me of the Great One as I looked at his painting of the Scholar in a Room with a Winding Stair. Light washes over shadows, and the master painter gives me joy by reminding me in some corner of my soul of God's grace. Take a look at some great art, and don't worry about what some fancy art critic has to say about it. Of course, sometimes it is enlightening to hear about where an artist is "coming from". But you can simply appreciate art just because it tells a story, or reminds you of something, or evokes a sense of eternity in your heart. Smitty loves the sculptures done by the Italian artist Bernini. How the heck that guy ever made those stones "come alive" the way he did, I'll never know.

Speaking of Smitty, he needs to go to a shoemaker, or "cobbler" as he insists on calling them. Turns out he needs a bit more lift in that left shoe, but the shoe has to be taken apart to do it-not enough room on the inside for any more heft. So, another new thing since November 8. We've got to find a shoemaker - sorry dear - cobbler. Tomorrow he goes to see Dr. Bagchi, and will most likely get a surgery date for removing the hardware in his right foot. Good gravy, sounds like he's some sort of digital something or other. He's also going to ask Dr. B. if anything can be done for his stuck shoulder. This will be the first time I don't go with him. I have the sheer delight of hanging out for a couple of hours with two little men tomorrow, Ian and Noah, so their mommy can pack a little for Disneyworld! Wish I was going with them...

Do your day with art in your heart. Whatever you do, create something beautiful for the next person. Even if it's just leaving a short note for a great waitress at the coffee place, or putting an ice cold water bottle on your coworkers desk, or speaking a kind word to someone sad. And if you paint, by all means do it. Delight in your very own "magnificent struggle".

Your friend on the pilgrim road,



Anonymous said...

Great, Great Posts LoriAnn and oh so thought provoking both personally & in faith.....
Food for thought...
THE GREATEST Work of ALL Arts... is God's Creation & creations in the six days... he just spoke them into existence... sounds easy - right... So here's my question.... Did He have his own Magnificent Struggle (in those six days) and if so What was His struggle like?

Mary Louise said...

I usually pass on art museums because I don't really "get" a lot of what I see. But in DC this past April I went to the National art gallery. They had original Rembrandts, and I agree I just like looking at his work. There is color and emotion. Anyway, I took a tour of the American art wing. It's amazing what you miss if you have an untrained eye. (To see God's handiwork along our Pilgrim road I think we need to have a trained and focused eye as well.) The guide showed us American history through the changes in paintings over the years. I was fascinated. You're never too old to learn something!

johandav said...

Dear Anonymous,

I can't imagine God struggling with anything. I think struggle is a result of the fall. Wouldn't it be fabulous, though, to ask the Great One what it was like to make a universe and an atom? Could we even get it if He explained? I love what Francis Collins said - he was one of the science genius' who cracked the DNA code for human beings. He said it was an honor and privelige to get a glimpse into the language of God. Wow. Thanks for your thoughtful comment.

Mary Louise,
I couldn't agree more. I love learning new things every day - I just wish I could retain more! The brain cells aren't quite what they used to be. Love you, friend!