According to our guide, if a person spent four seconds looking at each item in the Musee du Louvre in Paris, it would take four years to see everything! Ranging from paintings like Michelangelo’s Mona Lisa, Tiziano Vecellio’s Titien, and Antonio Puccio’s Pisanello, to amazing clay and marble sculptures, to the architecture and ceiling paintings on the edifice itself, the Louvre was both inspiring and thought-provoking.
One man who particularly fascinated me was Jacques-Louis David. This famous French artist was born August 30, 1748 and died December 29, 1825. David was a brilliant thinker who was very aware of the politics and moral condition of his countrymen. First, he was annoyed by the superficial Rococo artistic style which matched the frivolous government under King Louis the XVI. David became an active supporter of Napoleon I during the French Revolution and was a friend of Maximilien Robespierre, one of the most influential leaders of his time. Second, David knew if his feelings towards his government were expressed through contemporary art he would likely lose his life. Using a style later categorized as neoclassic, he utilized subtlety in painting historical scenes that spoke against the vices and problems of his day.
2 Samuel 14:19—The king asked, “Did Joab put you up to all this?” The woman answered. “As surely as you live, my lord the king, no one can turn to the right or left from all my lord the king says. Yes, your servant Joab is the one who gave orders to me; he told your servant exactly what to say.”
Joab was the Commanding General of King David’s army. During part of David’s reign, the king banished his son Absalom from the land for murdering his brother Amnon. But David understood that Absalom’s action was in revenge for Amnon raping his sister Tamar and the king longed to have his son restored. Joab recognized the complexity of David’s situation and realized that to directly approach David with advice would not work. Instead, he recruited the services of a wise woman from a town called Tekoa. In 2 Samuel 14 you can read how Joab invented a dilemma for her to tell the king. By gaining his counsel regarding her situation, she used David’s words to advise him to restore Absalom.
It is not always prudent to be direct in our communication. Sometimes subtleties in what we convey work best for those not listening or thinking clearly. A restrained approach avoids enflaming another person’s temper. It gives the listener an opportunity to reflect. It affords the messenger or artist a variety of ways to convey a message—such as humor, art, drama or narrative. God gives us the ability to be clever for a reason. With good intentions and well-crafted delivery, a shrewd depiction may prevent dereliction. According to our scholarly guide, Jacques-Louis David’s painting, The Oath of the Horatii, conveyed to a corrupt court the value of honor, the pain and casualties of battle, and the magnitude of loyalty.
©2011 Daniel York ARR. Reveration is the weekly devotional ministry of First Cause. If you would like to receive these devotionals go to www.firstcause.org and click on the “Click here to receive weekly devotionals” box. Unlimited permission to copy this devotional without altering text or profiteering is allowed subject to inclusion of this copyright notice.
Ecclesiastes 12:10-The Teacher sought to find delightful sayings and to accurately write words of truth. (Holman CSB)