This is the Rembrandt painting entitled, “Artiest in Zijn Studio”.
Now, I’ve never studied painting myself but there is clearly something wondrous here. The canvas in the work is literally glowing while not only parts of the room remain in darkness but the painter himself is darkened. It is as if he is saying the work he has created is greater than himself.
And while I’m not a painter, as a writer I know that feeling all too well. There are those magical moments when the work one has created shines with a light that brings tears to your own eyes. It’s like when Handel completed the Messiah and said “I do believe I have seen all of Heaven before me, and the great God Himself”. At those moments the work becomes greater than the artist.
But how is that possible?
Is it not because there is the touch of God in each our lives?
A culture than can produce this work is not nihilistic because it still has a measure of hope that there is more, there is something higher and better. And that hope lifts us all – demonstrating the power of culture to do good.
Let us all seek to render art that lifts as well. Surely God will be smiling at His work when we do!
Alas, my wife who is the painter in our house tells me that Rembrandt is well known for his use of light and having it focus on the most important aspect of his painting. I should have known!
But I had another thought on that painting. What if the canvas he is looking at is blank?! What if he hasn’t actually painted anything yet and the light in that case shows the *potential* that is there, just waiting to be developed.
Ah… this is an interesting thought…
What if we looked on each person we meet like the artist is looking at his canvas here? What if we pause to consider the potential in each person’s life and the beauty that God desires to create on each of His canvases? Do we walk around boastful about the light shinning on us, or do we see the light coming out of other people and the possibilities God intends for them?
Do we see the potential in our own lives and allow God to have His way so that we do not dim or diminish what He is creating in us? Do we paint like our Father paints and bring light to all our works? Do we recognize God’s light in our lives, His favor on us before we have even accomplished anything of merit — His love for us while we are yet a blank canvas? Do others see the light coming from our lives even before they see the completed work?
Do we step back and prayerfully consider the amazing possibilities of our lives (because God’s light is on us), or do we get busy painting and miss the beauty that God intended for our lives?
Do you see the light shining on you?