Art and scripture can work hand in hand to share and reinforce religious beliefs, and this year the MOA is selecting new artworks each week to accompany each chapter of the Come, Follow Me program. Below you'll selections for this month alongside commentary and questions written by members of the MOA team. We hope that art-lovers everywhere will be inspired by these artworks as they complement their gospel study, family discussions, and church classes with fine art from around the world.
June 26 - July 2
He’s often referred to as “Doubting Thomas” for his reluctance to accept that Jesus had risen from the grave, but when he saw the resurrected Savior, Thomas recognized him immediately as “My Lord and my God.” In this painting, van Dyck portrays him holding scripture, possibly his own testimony of the Redeemer.
How do we find faith amidst uncertainty?
Shortly after Jesus’ ascension, his closest friends gathered together, and “all continued with one accord in prayer and supplication” (Acts 1:14). Their Lord had departed into glory, but they remained connected with Heaven through prayer.
Of this work, “Again, Glorified (Atonement Triptych)”, the artist Paige Anderson said "You see a lot of depictions of something like prayer, but there's nothing that tells you visually what it feels like to say 10,000 prayers… What I do is try to get you a glimpse into how prayer is like–it's a pattern."
When you look at this work, how are the themes of glory, prayer, and the atonement connected?
Stephen was one of the first martyrs for the Christian cause, and this etching does not shy away from the brutality of the scene. Rembrandt’s composition focuses on the suffering Stephen and the violence of his attackers, but the martyr’s face seems to look upward beyond them. Perhaps this is a nod to his vision, not depicted here, of “the heavens opened, and the Son of man standing on the right hand of God.”
What details of the story stand out to you in this artwork?
In this triptych, originally made to adorn the walls of a women’s prison, we see the Savior on the cross, a visual bridge between angels above and supplicants below. Reds and golds dominate the composition, but as you look closer at the cross itself, you’ll notice that the it is laced with living, green branches. Death has brought life, and pain begets healing.
Throughout the Book of Acts, tragedy and loss are followed by miracles and new opportunities. Chapter 12 opens with the murder of the apostle James, yet concludes “But the word of God grew and multiplied.”
How can we transform pain into growth?
Much of the Book of Acts centers on conversion and what it entails. In this artwork, we see a new convert kneeling before an altar as the vague silhouettes of others look on. His feet are bare, his clothes simple. His posture and facial expression are pronounced as deliberate, with features somewhat exaggerated as was the illustration style at the time.
What can you infer about this man from this depiction? What does that suggest about what it means to be truly converted?