Windows of Art

Van Gogh’s “Laboureur dans un champ”

In 1889 van Gogh painted “Laboureur dans un champ” – a farmer plowing the land, which was the view from his window at the hospital. He left the asylum in May 1890;  two months later, at age 37, he shot himself in the chest.

Perhaps in hopelessness he could not imagine the mystery of his worth in the way that, as a poor artist, he could not imagine this painting would one day sell for over $81 million.

What do you see through your window?

In Ken Gire’s book, “Windows of the Soul: Hearing God in the Everyday Moments of Your Life,” he has a chapter on “Windows of Art” where he starts by quoting Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn, “The Nobel Lecture on Literature”:

“Art can warm even a chilled and sunless soul to an exalted spiritual experience. Though art we occasionally receive – indistinctively, briefly – revelations the likes of which cannot be achieved by rational thought.

It is like the small mirror of legend: you look into it but instead of yourself you glimpse for a moment the Inaccessible, a realm forever beyond reach. And your soul begins to ache…”

Gire’s response to the windows of art is this prayer for humility:

A Payer for Humility

Help me, O God,

To have the humility to sit at the feet of great art, 

whether it is a painting or a person on the street,

a scene from a movie or score from a musical

a sunset or a psalm,

and to look and to listen and to receive

what is being offered me there.

Give me the grace to submit to its scrutiny,

seeking not to do something to it,

but that it might do something to me;

seeking not in some way to judge it,

but that it might in some way judge me… 

What do you see through your window?

Reflect on what you may hear God say in the everyday moments of your life.

For more see “The window as a symbol in art” by Elena Nastyuk

Or, “Scenes from the artist’s window” at


About R.H. (Rusty) Foerger

As I enter the third third of life, I am becoming aware of the role of elders today “to enlarge spiritual vision, being devoted to prayer, living in the face of death, as a living curriculum of the Christian life” (Dr. James M. Houston). I am a life long and life wide learner who seeks to: *decipher the enigma of our worth *rescue from the agony of prayerlessness *integrate spiritual friendship.
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3 Responses to Windows of Art

  1. Lovely post and prayer. With so much time spent at home in the past year, our physical windows have become so important. My thoughts are with those struggling to transition back to a life in public as Covid restrictions loosen. Prayers that they do not suffer as van Gogh did.

    Liked by 1 person

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