Monday, April 25, 2005

David Jones and Jonah

This is an odd post for me as generally I find people who try and get a biblical message out of art very annoying. However I was flicking through a book of my brother’s, who is studying art, on wood engraving which had a lot of interesting engravings in it –it was truly amazing. I came across this one by David Jones (early twentieth century poet/artist, find out more here) with a naked figure surround by a bit of swirling art if you know what I mean and a halo round his head. My first thought was that it was some picture of Jesus, and as someone very anti pictures of Jesus (graven images and all that) and that finds religious artwork universally disconnected from reality I wasn’t interested. Then I noticed he seemed to be drowning and there was a boat nearby; I looked at the caption and it said it was from an illustration of the book of Jonah! It was illustrating his being thrown out of the sinking boat going to Tarshish. I couldn’t help thinking that for Jonah to have a halo and look so like Christ was very very weird. But thinking what must have made the artist do that has been very encouraging (whether I have understood his thinking or not). Jonah was a rubbish follower of God and pretty evil, and in this seen was being disciplined by God (although there was other things going on as well). But despite all this he was holy, all thanks to God’s favour and Christ’s blood. As a rubbish and evil follower of God too, it has been really great to think about this. Sadly the picture doesn’t seem to be on the Internet so I can’t show it here. Still I doubt anyone will ever read this post so it doesn’t really matter.


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