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Posts Tagged ‘The Last Supper’

Leonardo da Vinci’s THE LAST SUPPER is agreed by many to be the one of the most significant paintings in Western art.  Not only does it represent artistic genius, it brings to life a crucial moment in history.  Obviously THE LAST SUPPER, along with many other master works of antiquity can legitimately be categorized as “Christian Art”.

During past centuries when the masses of people did not read, and had no access to Bibles or writings of any kind, visual art was the major medium through which ideas could be expressed.  Great paintings, timeless sculptures, and magnificent cathedral murals portraying the life, death, and resurrection of the Lord Jesus were the means by which the common people could experience and consider for themselves the tenents of Scripture.  God raised up long-since-unparalled masters of art in those centuries, for the purpose of communicating truths which are now largely communicated through the Bible and other writings.

A friend who publishes an evangelical magazine once asked me if I could submit some “Christian art” for his periodical.  After scratching my head on that one for some time, I had to tell my friend that I really didn’t have anything which he would consider suitable.  He was looking for a painting with a cross, Jesus kneeling in the Garden, or a weeping woman standing by the empty tomb.

Because so many masters have “gone there, done that”,  I—an absolute neophyte at painting—would be highly presumptuous to even consider painting such a scene.  And how many people (myself included) have been turned off by ethereal attempts at portraying a Jesus who looks more like a 19th century English poet or a Swedish Hippie, than the Jewish carpenter whom He was when He walked the earth?!

Visual art differs from vocal music and poetry—or any medium where words are involved.  Words tell, and thus we do have “Christian music” and “Christian poetry”.  I have published Christian poetry, as well as essays and testimonies.  But it has been said that “A picture is worth a thousand words”.  So what kind of contemporary pictures, aside from presenting Jesus as a 19th century poet or a Swedish Hippie, can actually be deemed “Christian art”?

As an amateur artist my aim is to express joy, color, beauty plus a quality of life which includes a sense of wonder, enthusiasm, excitement, intrinsic meaning, and contentment in the moment at hand.  The Judeo-Christian worldview affirms life and presents a loving, sovereign God of creation.  I desire to celebrate life, and in so doing to celebrate the Creator.

Without making a cheesy attempt to mimic centuries of genuine artistic genius, a celebration of life is the best I can offer concerning “Christian art!”  However, I can and do add titles to my paintings, and titles are WORDS.  The following watercolor on Yupo paper is an example titled:  “By the Fiat of His Word“.

Margaret L. Been — September 19, 2015 — (First posted in another of my blogs:  http://hiswordistrue.wordpress.com in 2014. )

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Leonardo da Vinci’s THE LAST SUPPER is agreed by many to be the most significant painting in all of Western art.  Not only does it represent artistic genius, it brings to life historical reality and the truth of Scripture.  Obviously THE LAST SUPPER, along with many other master works of the era, can be catagorized as “Christian Art”. 

In an epoch when the masses of people did not read, and had no access to Bibles or writings of any kind, visual art was the major medium through which ideas could be expressed.  Great paintings, timeless sculptures, and magnificent cathedral murals portraying the life, death, and resurrection of the Lord Jesus were the means by which the common people could experience and consider for themselves the truths of Scripture.*  God raised up great masters of art in those centuries, for the purpose of communicating truths which are now largely communicated through the Bible and other writings.

A friend who publishes an evangelical periodical once asked me if I could submit some “Christian art” for his magazine.  After scratching my head on that one for some time, I had to tell my friend that I really didn’t have anything which he would consider suitable.  He was looking for a painting with a cross, Jesus kneeling in the Garden, or a weeping woman standing by the empty tomb.  Because so many masters of art have “gone there, done that”, I—an absolute neophyte at painting—would be highly presumptuous to even consider painting such a scene.  And how many people have been turned off by ethereal attempts at portraying Jesus—a “Jesus” who looks more like an English poet, or a Scandinavian Hippie, than the Jewish carpenter whom He was?! 

Visual art differs from vocal music and poetry—or any medium where words are involved.  Words tell, and thus we do have “Christian music” and “Christian poetry”.  I will be publishing some of the latter, which I have written, during April which is National Poetry Month.  But it has been said that “A picture is worth a thousand words”.  So what kind of pictures today, aside from presenting Jesus as an English poet, can be deemed “Christian art”?

As an artist (although I’m a beginner, I can legitimately call myself that because I consistently and committedly make art) I know that my thrust, my overriding desire, and my main goal is to express joy, color, beauty and a quality of life which includes a sense of wonder, enthusiasm, excitement, intrinsic and indestructible meaning, and contentment in the moment at hand—a contentment which prevails for me in the midst of any and all circumstances. 

This, in essence, is the grist of the Judeo-Christian worldview which affirms life and presents a loving God of creation who commands all things.  My goal epitimizes what is meant by the Scripture command, “In all things, glorify God.”  I aim to celebrate life, and in so doing to celebrate the Lord of life!  Without making a cheesy attempt to mimic centuries of artistic genius, that is the best I can offer in the way of “Christian art!”

However, I can add titles to my paintings, and titles are comprised of words.  Here is where I frequently slip in a clue, which I hope may resonate in the mind of viewers.  A case in point, is the following watercolor on Yupo paper titled:  “By the Fiat of His Word“.

Margaret L. Been, ©2012

*Although I am not a Roman Catholic, I’m tremendously moved when I visit the old Spanish mission churches of New Mexico which depict “The Stations of the Cross”.  Visual art does live and breathe, and there may be some truth to the saying, “A picture is worth a thousand words”.

Our Lord fashioned an entire creation full of “natural wonders”—visuals through which we can actually see evidence of His attributes and His glory!

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