A Sunday Afternoon on the Island of La Grande Jatte

A Sunday Afternoon on the Island of La Grande Jatte, Georges Seurat, 1884
A Sunday Afternoon on the Island of La Grande Jatte, Georges Seurat, 1884

Seurat had his own reasons for painting this very large painting with tiny dots of pure color, a method called pointillism. I’m sure this painting has been analyzed to death. And yet, it lives. I have seen it twice at the Art Institute of Chicago. It’s most impressive.

Here is a spiritual interpretation I have adopted thanks to a sermon I recently heard. Stand close to the painting, and you see individual dots, not a beautiful picture. Stand far away and the individual dots disappear into the tranquil, stately beauty of the picture. Now I think about my view of life. When I look at people (myself, my children, a former classmate, an unbelieving neighbor) I see their individual lives, and it doesn’t make much sense. For instance, why am I here at this time and place when I think I was meant to be in another time? Or, why did God allow that person to fall so deep into sin? The questions go on. But, if I step back and look at life from the viewpoint of eternity, God’s grand plan falls perfectly and harmoniously into place. How do I look at life that way when I have not yet reached heaven? Only through faith, which is like a telescope pointed always at Jesus.

I love finding connections between art and everything else important.

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