Monet Speaks to Me

Water Lilies, Claude Monet, 1919
Water Lilies, Claude Monet, 1919

Here’s another installment of art that speaks to me: Impressionism by Claude Monet.
I sometimes wonder if Monet saw God in the shadows between his brush strokes?
A friend used to sit and stare at Monet’s paintings and pray. She said Impressionism nourished her soul.

The ability to create through artistic skills and the appreciation of what’s been created – both can be spiritual practices in search of the Sacred in our lives.

Do you have art that helps you pray?

Impressionism,Sunrise, Claude Monet, 1873
Impressionism,Sunrise, Claude Monet, 1873
Water Lily Pond, Claude Monet
Water Lily Pond, Claude Monet, 1883
A Seascape. Shipping by Moonlight. Monet
A Seascape. Shipping by Moonlight. Monet, 1864
Arm of the Jeufosse in Autumn. Monet
Arm of the Jeufosse in Autumn. Monet, 1884
Red Boats at Argentueil, Claude Monet, 1875
Red Boats at Argentueil, Claude Monet, 1875
Beach and Cliffs at Pourville, Morning Effect. Claude Monet. 1882
Beach and Cliffs at Pourville, Morning Effect. Claude Monet. 1882
The Customs House Morning Effect, Claude Monet, 1882
The Customs House Morning Effect, Claude Monet, 1882
Path through the Forest, Snow Effect, Claude Monet, 1870
Path through the Forest, Snow Effect, Claude Monet, 1870
Irises in Monet's Garden, Claude Monet, 1900
Irises in Monet’s Garden, Claude Monet, 1900
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Monet Speaks to Me

Van Gogh Speaks to Me

The Starry Night, Vincent VanGogh, June 1889
The Starry Night, Vincent Van Gogh, 1889

In college, I took two Humanities courses that turned me on to classical music and fine art. I was not raised to appreciate art nor did I understand it. Both courses opened a new world to me as I began to see, hear and feel the transformative power of human creativity. I, myself, am not so artistic… but I have evolved to honor our shared, cross-cultural and trans-historical heritage of art, architecture, music and ritual.

I respect that the creative arts are shared common elements across all of the 5 major world religions. I also believe that they can help provide expression for interfaith meaning, understanding and communication. In fact, the appreciation of religious art is a hallmark of interfaith celebration worldwide.

Art has a revered place in my sacred garden.

Visually, I’m attracted to Impressionism and the visions of Monet and Van Gogh. (I’m also attracted to what Georgia O’Keeffe saw… another post for another day). Their color and texture choices speak to me. I am in awe at how thousands of individual and seemingly unrelated brush strokes can melt together into symphony of color that portrays a scene. From chaos to order… is the beauty on the canvas or in my eyes? Impressionism keeps me asking… is what I am observing subjective or objective? I keep coming up with “its both!”

I must also admit that I kind of like that these Impressionists were rebellious souls… the “bad boys” of art in their day. Breaking with tradition, they created a whole new dimension within the heart of the 19th century that thrives and inspires today. These guys also excite my Pantheism.

I invite you to listen to some of my favorite Vincent Van Gogh paintings. Can you feel the Sacred? Does he invite you to pray too?

Irises, Vincent VanGogh, 1889
Irises, Vincent Van Gogh, 1889
The Red Vineyard, Vincent VanGogh, 1888
The Red Vineyard, Vincent Van Gogh, 1888
Starry Night Over the Rhone, Vincent VanGogh, 1888
Starry Night Over the Rhone, Vincent Van Gogh, 1888
Wheatfield with Crows, Vincent VanGogh, 1890
Wheatfield with Crows, Vincent Van Gogh, 1890
Field of Poppies, Vincent VanGogh, 1889
Field of Poppies, Vincent Van Gogh, 1889
Wheatfield with Cypresses, Vincent VanGogh, 1889
Wheatfield with Cypresses, Vincent Van Gogh, 1889
Van Gogh Speaks to Me