Friday, September 2, 2016

God's Providence is like a Pointillist painting

This essay was first published at The End Time in February, 2014

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We know that the church is a body, a united body of believers.

For just as the body is one and has many members, and all the members of the body, though many, are one body, so it is with Christ. (1 Corinthians 12:12)

The Holy Spirit ordains where each believer is to be and what gifts he is to have. He ordains where we are in the body so as to contribute to the good of the whole.

All these are empowered by one and the same Spirit, who apportions to each one individually as he wills (1 Corinthians 12:11)

It could be said that the Lord is painting a picture.

If you're familiar with the Impressionist movement of art that emerged in the late 1800s in Paris, then you're familiar with the works of Monet, Manet, Sisley, Renoir, & etc. These artists used short brush strokes to convey movement and impression, rather than precision. There was a sub-culture of the Impressionists called the Pointillists. Here is Georges Seurat's famous pointillist painting, "Sunday Afternoon on the Island of La Grande Jatte".



As the website IncredibleArt.org states,

Strictly speaking, Pointillism refers to the technique of using dots of pure color in such a way that, seen at the appropriate distance, they achieve maximum luminosity.
(source)
"Georges-Pierre Seurat made this technique famous. His painting,
Sunday Afternoon on the Island of La Grande Jatte (1884-1888) is one of the most famous paintings in the world. ... At left you see a closeup of Seurat's painting. It is a closeup of the the man laying down on the lower left. Even thought he appears to be wearing white pants, as you can see, the part of the pants in the shadow just above the grass has no white in it. It's only when you look at it from a distance that the colors blend in. Seurat spent two years on this painting. He carefully planned it out with several sketches first."


It could be said, that the earth is the canvas and the people are the points of paint He daubs precisely here and there, working toward an end.

I've seen pointillist paintings at museums. You look very closely and all you can see are daubs of color. Dots. If you back away to a distance, you can see the scene clearly. It's amazing how the colors blend to make a seamless and beautiful picture.

We can think of ourselves as dots. We can't see the whole picture, we don't have the right perspective. God does. He puts a pink next to a blue and though all we can see is the blue next to us, we have to trust that the Great Artist is making something beautiful. Even if you don't like the color pink, you know and trust that the Artist's purposeful placement of it next to you will make the picture as a whole perfect when it is complete.

Just like heaven.


6 comments :

  1. Replies
    1. Thanks Maria! I'm fascinated with the doctrine of God's sovereignty. I find it encouraging too!

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  2. Before Impressionism emerged in the 1800s, the realism in art is kind of off-putting. Artists would paint in the artificial light of their studio and the overall base is black paint. The sensuality and indulgence of their art are reflections of the Dark Ages. The rise of Impressionism I think is symbolic of the revival of the Christian Church or the Church of Philadelphia in the 19th century. There was more emphasis on nature, on light, on meaning. It was a stark contrast to the sadism that pervaded works of art in medieval times.

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    1. Interesting, Anonymous! I think you might like this three-part BBC series called 'The Impressionists". In the first part I was happy to learn that the artists who experimented with light as you noted were able to do so because of the invention of portable paint, in tubes. They could at long last, paint outside because they could carry their paint with them, and shortly after portable paint's invention, came the collapsible portable easel.

      http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0496201/

      The Renaissance was a time when many artists remained committed to religious themes but with those dark, Catholic overtones as you noted, but also strayed from that to painting pagan themes, Botticelli's Venus and Primavera are two examples that come to mind, as is Caravaggio's Bacchus.

      I'm glad Caravaggio's and Titian's heavy dark reds and blacks were replaced with the Impressionists' blues and yellows.

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    2. Yes, the 19th century was one of the best times the world has ever seen - the Industrial Revolution, Impressionism, the Rise of the Evangelical/Philadelphian Church, the Re-establishment of Israel, American Dominance, the spread of the Gospel around the world, the explosion of knowledge and inventions as a result of Christians' tendency to influence society positively, etc. But those days are over, and it's now time to look heavenward, beyond what this world can offer...

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