Tag: painting

A Meditation on Light

Light is the source of everything – light energy, positive energy.

Light can represent goodness, aspiration, transcendence – what we long for, what we may be at our best.

Light may also represent ethical and decisional guidance – which may come through reason, or through intuition, or perhaps by revelation.

Light is transformation. We not only see light, but we see differently according to the light that we see in. Light changes everything.

Light is hope.

Light is faith.

Light is love.

God is light.

‘Sun Setting Over a Lake’, Turner
Inspiring Art – Fra Angelico’s Transfiguration

Inspiring Art – Fra Angelico’s Transfiguration

This is a traditional subject – I’ve posted some transfiguration icons already today – but Fra Angelica really highlights the outstretched arms of Christ.

The arms foretell Christ’s forthcoming suffering in his crucifixion – there is no transfiguration without pain. But don’t they also suggest arms spread wide to embrace all?

The disciples show a mixture of confusion, prayer, awe and consternation. Encountering God elicits a huge spectrum of response from us, which can include fear and awe, as well as devotion, humility and love.

The “floating heads” either side of Christ are Moses and Elijah, who appear with Christ in the Gospel accounts – these figures speak of encounter and intimacy with God. Moses became God’s spokesman about life, and Elijah’s is the voice of prophecy. People tried to make sense of Jesus by comparing him to Elijah. In John’s Gospel, Christ is contrasted with Moses:

“… the law was given through Moses; grace and truth came through Jesus Christ”

Either side of Christ stand figures in attitudes of contemplation: The Virgin Mary and St. Dominic. This fresco was painted on the wall of a room to be used by someone who had devoted their life to prayer and contemplation, and Fra Angelico’s beautiful painting is there to help guide both the original occupant of the room, and us, now, in our prayer and contemplation.

Van Gogh’s Painting of Nature

Van Gogh paints nature beautifully.

One of my favourite paintings by him is “Branches with Almond Blossom“:

It was painted partly to celebrate the birth of his nephew, named Vincent after him. Theo, the brother of Vincent the artist, wrote back to him about little Vincent, who saw this painting hanging above his parents’ bed – “He is particularly fascinated by the blossoming tree”.

The blues are so bright, as are the white blossoms. It feels like a celebration of new life in its brightness.

A lesser-known early work, “Girl in a Wood, also celebrates life:

Amongst the decay of autumn there is the bright white of the young life of a young girl. And those huge trees seem to offer her strength and support.

I will leave you with just one more early painting by Van Gogh – of fritillaries in a vase:

Like the branches with almond blossom, the subject matter is very simple and everyday – in this case a simple vase of flowers.

But his colours are so bright and vivid. Look at the beautiful golden sheen of the light reflecting off the vase, or the energy in the upward thrusts of the green leaves – maybe you can also feel the creativity, the joy, and the life of these beautiful paintings?