Artwork of the Week: June 16, 2019
Sir Edward John Poynter (1836-1919), The Prodigal Son, 1869, oil on canvas, 47 1/4 x 36 inches. Brigham Young University Museum of Art, purchased with funds provided by Ira and Mary Lou Fulton, 2005.
The Lord reveals His divine love for the repentant sinner through the tender parable of a father’s compassion towards his wayward child. As the son’s foot mounts the lower step, his devoted father has already descended to embrace him. The penitent young man looks away, overcome with shame and remorse as his father draws him into a redeeming embrace. The richly embroidered pattern on the hem of the son’s tattered garment speaks of his once-privileged status in his father’s household. Reducing all the elements of the story into a moment of sweet reconciliation, the figures merge together, embodying the singular, profound message of repentance and forgiveness.