Encountering Soul-Changing Beauty

What is it about art that draws us, compels us to a state of contemplation, humbles our souls before the light of the beauty of God’s creation, or moves us to tears?

Over the past few months, many changes have occurred in my life but one of the best ones was an opportunity to travel, where I was able to encounter, what I’d like to call, “soul-changing beauty”, unexpectedly found at an exhibition at the Corning Museum of Glass in Corning, NY.

This is the piece of art in question, a work by Louis Comfort Tiffany, of Tiffany and Co. fame:

And here is a small gallery of close-up shots (at least, as close as my camera phone would allow!):

In the foreground, there appears to be a garden of wild grapes, pink hollyhocks, and purple climbing clematis, with a field dipping down to a lake and a rolling hillside in the background.

I am in awe of the level of detail and exquisite colors employed in these stained glass panels and the serenity of the surrounding countryside. I admit there is a certain amount of awe, in seeing Tiffany glass in person, for the first time.

More than that, there is something about beauty that touches our souls. I can’t speak for everyone but speaking for myself, I yearn for beauty and sometimes, a piece of music or a painting or in this case, a stained glass, touches my soul and moves me past my humanity and I feel closer to God. It was such a privilege of being able to see this exquisite work in person, so far from home, and yet its depiction reminds me of the heartland that I love and its people.

My hope is to encourage you today to make time to visit a museum near you soon. Just take a half-day if you can spare it, even a lunch hour, and wander and witness and wait. Wait to meet God in that one painting that moves you beyond your humanity until, like Adam, you are close to touching God. And then, embrace the gift He has placed within you to seek and admire the beauty of His creation and give thanks for it. I know that I am.