August 31, 2009

My favorite painting in the Chicago Art Institute (and therefore in the world) is this one:


“Meekness”  (1650) is one of a set depicting the eight Beatitudes.  I like the imagery and the almost realistic rendering of the woman.  …  But actually its appeal is largely sentimental.  I discovered it while wandering the Institute with my mother one very quiet winter Friday in high school and was amused by the title – its such an out of date virtue.  Did anyone ever actually believe that the meek shall inherit the earth?  We spent the rest of that trip classifying all the other paintings as “meek” or “not meek” and have made a point to visit it ever since.  I was in Chicago this weekend and after stopping at the desk to renew my membership and hitting the museum cafe in the basement courtyard to caffeinate Mom, our first act was to make a bee-line for Meekness.

(The lamb apparently stands for purity of the soul – but I mostly like it because my mother is obsessed with sheep.)


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