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Previous Challenge Entry (Level 2 – Intermediate)
Topic: Art (01/18/07)

TITLE: Masterpieces
By Donald Ortolano


Is it not interesting how many different images the word “art” conjures up in ones mind? For some, it is sculpture, others painting and still others music or dance. Even within those defined categories there will be vast differences of opinion as to what exactly defines art.
I personally have issues with the very broad definition afforded the word, especially by the National Endowment for the Arts. I, as you, have seen works that are outright sacrilegious defined and funded as art. It troubles me. I have heard the most inflammatory, profane and yes, sacrilegious lyrics, categorized as art, performed by an “artist”.
Art has always been subjective, but rarely have we seen such offensive, disruptive, anti-Christian forms of it. Goya, one of the masters, made people very uncomfortable with his paintings. They seemed to pierce into the very dark side of the human mind. Yet, even Goya’s works had purpose, in that they engaged one in contemplation and self-examination. While certainly not Christian or “God-Friendly in appearance, they can not be categorized as sacrilegious.
But, this is not an article with political intent; it is an article about art, and, in my mind, art, in whatever form, represents beauty and hope.
I have been fortunate enough to view and listen to some great works of art, though not nearly as many as I would choose if given the opportunity. Art that uplifts and inspires and calms and makes one simply smile.
There are two works of art that standout in my mind as the most exceptional. One you will be familiar with, one you will not.
As you enter Grand Canyon National Part, the anticipation rises. If you have never witnessed it, as I had not, the anticipation is even greater. But, when you step onto the lip of the Canyon and behold what stands before you, no amount of anticipation could suffice. I clearly remember my eyes widening and my jaw becoming slack. The scene before me was a panorama of spectacular colors and hues. I felt a tear at the corner of my right eye as I contemplated the “Master” who created such a work. This was art in its highest form. Art created by the ultimate artist and designer. How one can view such a masterpiece and not see the hand of the Master, is beyond my intellect. I don’t remember how long I stood in awe, before turning away with a new and refreshed understanding of exactly whom I serve.
The second exceptional piece of art, the one you will not be familiar with, I found in an unusual place. It was in a hospital room in Houston Texas. My wife had just gone through some serious surgery and had just come into her room from recovery. As is usually the case, it was quite awhile before she was coherent and able to chat with me. We talked about how blessed we were that all was well; that nothing more serious had been found.
It was close to diner time when friends from our Church came to visit. The visitors were a mom and her two young sons. The Mom attends the Sunday school class I teach and is someone you would refer to a “sweet, sweet person”. The youngest son, a four year old with the face and countenance of an angel, has had very serious health issues. He was born with a badly damaged heart, and at the age of four, has already endured five open-heart procedures. The ordeal is far, far from over for him. Yet, he is a happy, loving child, one you simply want to hold. I’m sure you know the type.

When he entered the room he went straight to my wife’s bedside and held out a picture he had drawn for her. It was a simple crayon drawing. I could make out what was definitely a cross and most likely a sofa or bed. Tears were already welling-up as we told him how beautiful his picture was. We asked him what he was portraying in the drawing. He looked up at us through eyes that have seen more than their share of trial. He quietly whispered:
“That’s’ Jesus on the Cross watching over you”. Now, the tears flowed.
I have seen two true masterpieces in my life. One a spectacular show of nature, created by the Master. The second, a mere crayon drawing, again, created by The Master.

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Member Comments
Member Date
Julie Arduini01/25/07
This was such a sweet story. I think it needs a little fine tuning with spelling and spacing. An enjoyable piece nonetheless!
Donna Powers 01/31/07
Wow. I was touched by the scene in the hospital room and loved the contrast/comparison between the two "works of art". Loved your title and loved the story. Well done.