December 24, 2019 ~ A Christmas Letter from John, the Disciple and Revelator of Jesus Christ

James Abbott McNeill Whistler
Aesthetic painter, printmaker and etcher
Portrait of Whistler with Hat
46.3 x 38.1 cms | 18 x 15 ins
Oil on canvas
Freer Gallery of Art
Washington | United States

A Christmas Letter from John, the Disciple and Revelator of Jesus Christ

Merry Christmas!
James Abbott McNeil Whistler will be the selected artist for the images as I work my way through the book of Revelation. One thing I noticed about Revelation — what on Earth do the crazy images mean? I did not provide a formal analysis of Whistler’s paintings, but I have pointed out some simple reasons why I chose his painting for that particular section of Revelation, because that’s what I like to do.

With the possible exception of Degas, he was the wittiest man in the recorded history of art. Degas remarked of him, “If you were not a genius, you would be the most ridiculous man in Paris.” pg 11.

Although he scoffed at religion, he never forgot that his New England mother wanted him to be a parson, diligently took her to church and kept his promise never to draw or paint on the Sabbath. pg 11.

Arrangement in Grey and Black: Portrait of the Painter’s Mother
Oil on canvas
144.3 x 162.4 cms | 56 3/4 x 63 3/4 ins
Musee d’Orsay | Paris | France

God created us with the ability to create, in a second hand sense, and to exercise His creative power. With a large pool of paintings to choose from, both abstract and realistic, I found it easy to group the visual with the verbal account, as if he was ready to pair. I had a feeling that Whistler possessed a prophetic visionary gift that would work out for this project. I would guess that Whistler is not far from the kingdom, but I’m certain God sees a more nuanced picture.

~ §tacy §weeney

Holden, Donald. WHISTLER Landscapes and Seascapes. 1976. Watson-Guptill Publications. New York.

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