Yesterday I stopped into the Museum of Fine Arts in Boston. Looking at artwork always feeds me. I wandered around to see what would draw me to it. I found this:
“Christ Blessing”, 1841
Oil on panel
It is very striking. I stopped and took a good look.
I zeroed in on the lips. They are painted so well. It can be very hard to paint lips! Somewhere along the way, someone advised me to think of it like a mountain range. It isn’t the ole simple lemon shape of kindergarten years (unless you are simplifying it of course), but there are peaks and valleys in there. There are dark darks to consider, and how they relate to darks elsewhere on the face. There are hints of the glow of red in the shirt on Jesus, that give it an illuminating quality. There is gentle shadow to consider, that helps one lip lightly rest over the other. The colors create beautiful volume and are so pleasing to rest into.
And then suddenly I felt funny about staring so closely at Christ’s lips! In that moment, I stopped looking at the painting, and started considering the person of Jesus. What an intimate thing! Look at this mouth. Look at this mouth that speaks and is silent. That blesses, and heals, and invites, and frees. That eats and drinks. That smiles, and moves. That says, “Go, your faith has saved you.”
I had never thought about it before. Now I will.
What draws you in?