I believe it’s true to say that it’s not what we look at that determines what we see, it’s our eyes.
While I’m not a connoisseur of Impressionist art, I do know a bit of the story of Claude Monet, one of its most famous painters. Incidentally, one of his early works sold in May, 2019, for $110 million. It was an 1890 painting of a haystack.
Monet was born in 1840 and before he was thirty he began to develop early age-related cataracts in both eyes. Because it affected how he could see colors it began to change his painting. Later he would write, “…Colors no longer had the same intensity to me…reds had begun to look muddy.”
He continued to paint, but he numbered the tubes of paint on his palette and kept them in precise order. He began using broader strokes with his brushes and over time all of his paintings began to take on a strong bluish tint.
By now cataract surgery was a hundred years old but less than 50% successful. Against his better judgment, Monet allowed friends to persuade him to have the surgery and after lying immobilized by sandbags for ten days, he wrote to his surgeon, “It is to my great chagrin that I regret having this fatal (sic) operation. Pardon me for speaking so frankly and let me tell you that it is criminal to have put me in this situation.”
With corrective lenses his vision would gradually improve some – enough that he destroyed some of the work he had done prior to his surgery. There are more than 2,500 of his works known, and he painted till near his death in 1926. I am told you can line up an assortment of his canvases and tell whether they were painted before his surgery or after simply by how true the colors are.
Like I said, it’s not what we look at that determines what we see, it’s our eyes. Some of the religious leaders in Jesus’ day looked at a young woman and saw a prostitute. Jesus looked at the same woman, and saw a precious treasure. It depends on how you look. When Judas showed up in the Garden he was on the verge of committing the most heinous crime in the history of planet earth; Jesus called him friend. It depends on how you look.
A dear friend recently described to me how she was sitting in church one day and realized there were people there she didn’t like being around. Right there she asked the Lord to do whatever was necessary to change her heart. And He did. He loves to do that, to give us eyesalve so we may see as He does. (Rev 3:18) The Pharisees were critics; Jesus was a lover. You and I want to look like Jesus.
By Don Jacobsen