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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