Have you ever seen a painting that simply refused to be ignored, inspiring you to think deeply about life and the way it should be lived? For me, one of these paintings is The Execution of Lady Jane Grey, by Paul Delaroche.
You see, in 1833 when this oil painting was completed, painters the world over were wringing their hands. Just four years earlier a French chemist named Louis Jacques-Mande Daguerre had helped to invent the Daguerreotype, a predecessor to the modern photograph. Now that photographs were available, the public was becoming less interested in paintings, which were more costly and time consuming.
One French painter by the name of Paul Delaroche reacted to all this by painting The Execution of Lady Jane Grey. The painting depicts the execution of a beloved and innocent figure in English history, hinting that allowing the art of painting to be put to death would be a blatant crime against humanity. Not only this, but he achieves a great deal of realism (enough to rival a photograph), while delivering something the early photographs could not: living color. The scene leaps to life as we absorb the rich, vibrant colors which Delaroche employs.
I love the boldness of this painting – in both the color choices and the statement it makes. And each time I view this painting, I can’t help but hear the words of the Apostle Paul echoing through the corridors of my mind:
“For I fully expect and hope that I will never be ashamed, but that I will continue to be bold for Christ, as I have been in the past. And I trust that my life will bring honor to Christ, whether I live or die.”
Philippians 1:20 (NLT)
Paul understood that it is not enough for us to know about Christ or to talk about Christ. No, the duty of every Christian is to show Christ to the world through our everyday actions. When others look at us, they should see Christ shining through our lives in bold and vibrant color.
Can you honestly say that Christ will become more real to those who examine your life? If not, then make this a matter of prayer. Don’t settle for sending a flat, monochromatic image of Jesus to the world!
Lord, may all that we do reveal You to those who are watching us in bold, living color…