Today's Gospel in Art - A Storm so violent waves were breaking over the boat

The Wave, by Ivan Aivazovsky 1889 © Russian State Museum, Saint Petersburg

The Wave, by Ivan Aivazovsky 1889 © Russian State Museum, Saint Petersburg

Gospel of 30th Jun 2020 - Matthew 8:23-27

Jesus got into the boat followed by his disciples. Without warning a storm broke over the lake, so violent that the waves were breaking right over the boat. But he was asleep. So they went to him and woke him saying, 'Save us, Lord, we are going down!' And he said to them, 'Why are you so frightened, you men of little faith?' And with that he stood up and rebuked the winds and the sea; and all was calm again. The men were astounded and said, 'Whatever kind of man is this? Even the winds and the sea obey him.'

Reflection on the Marine Painting

This is where the Internet and these emails are limited, as they can't convey the true magnificence and size of some of the paintings I share with you. Today's painting by Russian artist Ivan Aivazovsky, called 'The Wave', is three by five metres in size (10 x 16 ft.). As a viewer, you are right in the midst of the storm, an almost cinematic experience. Viewing the painting, one can feel the breath of cold winds and taste the salty seas, the painting appealing to all senses.

All of Ivan's paintings were completed in his workshop, from memory. So Aivazovsky had a phenomenal capacity to remember details of a scene. Our painting is dominated by dark tones. Lighter shades are simply used to render the foamy tops of the waves and the translucent turquoise of the waters. This painting was put on display to great acclaim in Paris in 1890, after which the artist was awarded the Légion d'Honneur (France's highest order for military and civil merit).

The scene in our Gospel reading, of Jesus calming the seas, sees Him interacting directly with His Father's creation of the seas, and God's power present in Jesus. The intricate large-scale painting reminds us of the magnificence of the seas… and the magnificence of Jesus calming them…


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Tags: Christian Art Today, Patrick van der Vorst, Ivan Aivazovsky

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