A closer look

Images of faith
Happily, the offices of the Christian Century are located across the street from the Art Institute of Chicago, one of the world’s great art museums. I walk across the street occasionally and have a look. It is perhaps a reflection of the lifestyle that many of us live that I tend to view a lot of paintings and not linger for long before any one of them.

Recently someone who knows a lot more about art than I do said that I ought to spend 15 minutes pondering a single painting. I wouldn’t think of trying to hear a Beethoven symphony in a few minutes, he said. Fifteen minutes? I thought. I can see the entire Impressionist collection in 15 minutes.

I have been trying to change my behavior, but it is not easy. My eyes stray to the next picture; everything in me wants to move on. But when I succeed in lingering, I see things that I would have missed, and I sometimes sense the deeper meaning of the work and the intent of the artist.


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