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Back Home Again

When I was on holidays twenty years ago or so I read a copy of Henri Nouwen’s book Return Of The Prodigal Son.
It’s a shortish monograph of Nouwen’s reflections arising from an extended viewing of the Rembrandt painting inspired by that biblical scene.
The original hangs in the The Hermitage in Russia, measuring an imposing 262 cm × 205 cm
I came home and bought a poster print of the painting that measures about 130 cm x 100 cm or so.
One thing led to another and it seemed a good idea to get the poster framed to protect my investment.
The local framing guy in Mordialloc said he had an ideal material for a suitable frame.
The frame ended up costing more than the poster, but it has given me immense pleasure for a long time.
One thing led to another and it was time to replace the glass in the frame.
Crossing off yet another of my list of things that have annoyed me / been left undone for too long, local business Framing Solutions fitted Ultra Clear glass and brought it back home again.
There is so much detail hiding in the painting for the patient and reflective viewer, and now more able to be seen.
More pleasure.

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Calvin & Hobbes In 3D

Calvin & Hobbes fans, art fans, or fans of cool things, play with this for a while.
If the embed below fails, go here.

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A Pen That Draws In Any Colour You Can Find

This pen/stylus is called a Scribble.
I think I know a few people who would like one of these.

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Youngest Daughter, As Drawn By Eldest Daughter

From back in 2004. It’s going home as a souvenir, but it’s not in great condition. 


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Vincent Van Gogh – A Life “In Sorrow, Yet Ever Joyful” (via Mockingbird)

Mockingbird have republished an essay about the life of Vincent van Gogh entitled ‘A Life Of Aching Beauty: Vincent van Gogh as Preacher, Failure, and Painter’.
The essay explores Van Gogh’s art and life, contrasting the bleakness of his experience with the vibrancy of his works, and drawing some thoughts about seeking transcendence amidst the brokenness of life.

A couple of quotes:

Always devoted to the Church, the Bible, and the example of Jesus Christ, Vincent next turned to the ministry. He began theological training, but found it both difficult and irrelevant, so he quit after a few months. He attended a three-month course for lay preachers, but after his final examination the examiners found him unsuitable for the ministry. On his own, he moved to a poor coal-mining region of Belgium to serve the miners and their families. He eventually obtained an official commission from his mission school, but lost this after three months due to his supposedly poor preaching skills, despite his undeniable and even extreme devotion and service to the coal-miners.
Given his sensibilities and his circumstances, we would expect Van Gogh’s art to reflect more and more his ongoing depression and troubled emotions. Yet somewhat the opposite is true. Vincent’s earlier paintings, such as The Potato Eaters (1885), have a limited color range of dark earth tones. The scene itself is somber, reflecting the hard life of Dutch peasants that he wanted to faithfully represent. From 1886 Vincent’s palette became lighter and more vibrant. Many paintings still clearly reflect the agitation of his soul, but we also see the longing to know and express joy. In sorrow, but ever joyful.

Read the whole essay at Mockingbird.

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How to Discourage Artists in the Church (via Philip Ryken)

Very practical and thoughtful post by Philip Ryken, pastor and college president, who gathers thoughts from friends engaged in a variety of artistic vocations about ways in which the church can discourage artists.
His post touches on unhelpful attitudes that Christians can have about the arts, and how artists serve the Gospel in their creativity.

Many Christian artists live between two strange worlds. Their faith in Christ seems odd to many of their friends in the artistic community—almost as odd as their calling as artists seems to some of their friends at church. Yet Christians called to draw, paint, sculpt, sing, act, dance, and play music have extraordinary opportunities to honor God in their daily work and to bear witness to the grace, beauty, and truth of the gospel. How can pastors (and churches) encourage Christians with artistic gifts in their dual calling as Christian artists?
Read the rest of the post at The Gospel Coalition.

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How a Working-Class Couple Amassed a Priceless Art Collection (via Mental Floss)

I was fascinated by this article about Herb and Dorothy Vogel, a working-class New York couple who accumulated a priceless collection of modern art.

Herb Vogel never earned more than $23,000 a year. Born and raised in Harlem, Vogel worked for the post office in Manhattan. He spent nearly 50 years living in a 450-square-foot one-bedroom apartment with his wife, Dorothy, a reference librarian at the Brooklyn Public Library. They lived frugally. They didn’t travel. They ate TV dinners. Aside from a menagerie of pets, Herb and Dorothy had just one indulgence: art. But their passion for collecting turned them into unlikely celebrities, working-class heroes in a world of Manhattan elites.
While their coworkers had no idea, the press noticed. The New York Times labeled the Vogels the “In Couple” of New York City. They counted minimalist masters Richard Tuttle and Donald Judd among their close friends. And in just four decades, they assembled one of the most important private art collections of the 20th century, stocking their tiny apartment floor-to-ceiling with Chuck Close sketches, paintings by Roy Lichtenstein, and sculptures by Andy Goldsworthy. Today, more than 1,000 of the works they purchased are housed in the National Gallery, a collection a curator there calls “literally priceless.” J. Carter Brown, the museum’s former director, referred to the collection as “a work of art in itself.”
Read the rest of the article at Mental Floss.