Art Gallery

Last week I had a chance to go to the National Art Gallery of Canada in Ottawa. I was with a class of Grade 8 students and, to be honest, I wondered how they would handle the experience. Well, it was fabulous. And it was so good because of our energetic and knowledgeable guide. Rather than having the kids look at everything in the gallery and feel overwhelmed, she had the kids focus in on about 10 or 12 pieces, all from different periods of art history. And the kids loved it. For example, we spent about 10 minutes examining a 17th C Flemish painting by Jacob Jordaens. She helped the kids discover all the interesting elements in the painting: what the characters are doing (who is the jester? why is the mother struggling to hold her glass?), the strange details (why are there an owl and a parrot in the scene, but the bird cage is empty?). By leading them through the scene, our guide helped them to see the message in the painting: that the sins of the parents do harm to the next generation.

As the Old Sing, So the Young Pipe by Jacob Jordaens

I loved watching the kids’ reaction as whole worlds opened up for them in each piece of art. Some were skeptical: did the artist really do that on purpose? But they were all fascinated, including me. I even gained a new appreciation for the controversial “Voice of Fire,” bought for an astronomical amount of money a number of years ago.

Voice of Fire by Barnett Newman

As I wandered through the gallery, listened to our guide and watched the kids, I was struck again by the power of the artist to communicate on a whole different level. And it made me think of the power of the Scriptures as well. The more we take time to explore and examine, the more we discover the riches we have in Christ.

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2 thoughts on “Art Gallery

  1. I am able to access a little devo called “journeying through lent with LUKE”, and when I read marjorie and jasons entries, i was touched about the sincerety and the realness of how to give up “something” during lent can be difficult. The author in this book tells of the story of how Jesus was tempted in the desert and I quote “when Jesus had been without food for 40 days and was famished with hunger, Satan said, “If you are the Son of God, turn this stone into bread” (4:3) It doesn’t sound so bad- (i love this)- a little fast food out in the desert. After all, later on in his ministry, Jesus would feed an entire crowd with only a few loaves and fish; so why shouldn’t he help himself while alone in the desert? No one would ever know. But Jesus knew that Satan was tempting him to unbelief-tempting him to say, “I don’t believe that God is taking care of me, so I’ll just help myself” Such temptation comes often…Jesus heard the tempter, but Jesus’ answer rang out clear and strong: “We do not live by bread alone, but by every word that comes from the mouth of God” Jesus was hungry, but he stayed alert to the Spirit. As long as his hunger pointed to God, the true source of life, Jesus could resist temptation and remain faithful to God. ” I know our God will go with all of us, while we give up “something” for Lent…ever neat to involve the sunday school class Wayne!

  2. I love Jacob Jordaens’ work, among others from that period… Most artists today can relate to the Baroque period… it’s a struggle being an artist, and most are broke!

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