The Magazine of The Evangelical Lutheran Church in America


A poet looks at paintings

In Van Gogh's light, McEntyre sees images of faith

Marilyn Chandler McEntyre is a poet who finds religious or spiritual meaning in the works of great painters, especially the Dutch masters. Her most recent book is The Color of Light: Poems on Van Gogh’s Late PaintingsEerdmans, 2007, which also published her earlier books: In Quiet Light: Poems on Vermeer’s Women, 2000; and Drawn to the Light: Poems on Rembrandt’s Religious Paintings, 2003). McEntyre is a professor of English at Westmont College in Santa Barbara, Calif.

The Color of LightFinding transcendent meaning in a painting doesn’t necessarily mean that the work has explicitly religious subject matter—such as a portrayal of Jesus, Mary or the saints. Rather, a painting’s images, whatever the subject matter, may suggest universal themes or ideas that inform faith.

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