Saintly Sinners

Saintly Sinners

Sunday, April 18, 2010
| Acts 9:1-6 (7-20)

Some of the greatest Christian art has been produced by really lousy Christians.

Some of the greatest Christian art has been produced by really rotten Christians.

You don’t need to be saintly to paint a saint.

In fact, writes journalist Elizabeth Lunday, if you want a heavenly picture, it’s often best to hire a sinner.

Check out The Calling of St. Matthew by Michelangelo Merisi da Caravaggio (if you have a screen in your worship space, display the image). See how the apostle is in a dark and dirty Roman tavern, surrounded by lowlifes? That’s because Caravaggio spent plenty of time in these pubs himself, drinking and brawling. In 1606, this hot-tempered artist killed a Roman thug in a fight following a tennis match.

Or how about Rembrandt’s 1633 etching The Good Samaritan? It’s so down to earth that it has a dog relieving itself in the foreground. Members of the Dutch Reformed Church loved Rembrandt’s realistic artwork but didn’t appreciate his relationships with women. He painted his wife, Saskia, as a prostitute in a tavern, sitting in the lap of one of the most well ...

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