Today I want to look at a painting by William Bouguereau (1825-1905) called “Compassion.” It is not merely about the death of Jesus, but our response to His death. In my view, the man is demonstrating his love for Jesus. He longs to know Christ and identify with Him in his sufferings. It reminds me of, Romans 6:3-9:
“Or don’t you know that all of us who were baptized into Christ Jesus were baptized into his death?We were therefore buried with him through baptism into death in order that, just as Christ was raised from the dead through the glory of the Father, we too may live a new life. For if we have been united with him in a death like his, we will certainly also be united with him in a resurrection like his.For we know that our old self was crucified with him so that the body ruled by sin might be done away with, that we should no longer be slaves to sin—because anyone who has died has been set free from sin. Now if we died with Christ, we believe that we will also live with him.”
The man also shows the response to his love for Christ. Jesus said, “Take up your cross and follow me.” This man carries his own cross in obedience and love.
It is painted with very subtle, neutral colors. The palette is tans/browns and dusty grey/blues. The Painting has a background, and a foreground (no middle ground). The Composition moves your eyes from the man’s face, up to Christ’s face, and then oval around the two figures. The use of lights and darks, brightness and contrast is very natural and creates a well balanced contrast. The brightest areas are the sky, Jesus’ shoulder, Jesus’ cloth, the horizon sky, and the feet/ground area.
By studying other paintings and techniques we challenge ourselves to become better artists for the Lord. Use your gifts for God’s glory!
Below is an excerpt from the chapter, “33 CATEGORIES OF VISUAL PROPHETIC ART.” Every Christian artist should understand conceptual art!!! It is the backbone of how God speaks through much of our art!!! (If you want to grow in prophetic art, purchase SHADOW PAINTER by Laurie A. Stasi on Amazon.) The excerpt reads as follows:
“#16 CONCEPTUAL ART
God speaks in concepts and parables and these should be included in prophetic art. In the Bible a pile of rocks became a monument to what the Lord has done. The concept behind the pile made it a tribute to the Lord. Rocks themselves mean nothing. In modern conceptual art, it is the concept or meaning that is important in the art or object. I visited a modern art museum and saw a chair that was placed upside down on the floor. Close by was an artist statement, describing what the chair placement represented. The artist’s ideas were the important artistic contribution; the chair was a prop to represent the idea. Encyclopedia Britannica explains conceptual art this way:
“Conceptual art, also called post-object art or art-as-idea, artwork whose medium is an idea (or a concept), usually manipulated by the tools of language and sometimes documented by photography. Its concerns are idea-based rather than formal.” (Britannica)
And Sol LeWitt, famous conceptual artists once said,
“In conceptual art the idea or concept is the most important aspect of the work. . .The idea becomes a machine that makes the art.” (Sol LeWitt)
Our God is very symbolic in His language to us. Dreams are presented in symbolic ways to make us ponder and engage us to get us thinking. Conceptual art puts a demand on the viewer to think. Why is that chair upside down? What is the artist trying to say? I would love to see galleries and museums filled with conceptual art that has hidden messages from God. Our Father loves word puns; it actually makes Him laugh! He enjoys making us contemplate. Jesus reminded the disciples that the people were, “ever seeing but never perceiving.” He wanted to challenge the disciples to think about and ponder the parables. Conceptual art is under-used in the church; most people don’t even know what it is. What a great opportunity to make them think about the things of God.”