The Faith That Covers Greed and Fear

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Frederick Edwin Church, an American romanticism landscape painter, published his masterpiece <Heart of the Andes> in New York in 1859. This not only gave him famem, but also was sold for a sum of $10,000 breaking the record for the highest price of other painters.

As the title shows, this work depicts the Andean landscape, expressing respect for Humboldt’s expeditions to South America in the early 1800s. The snow-capped mountain on the left is Mount Chimborazo, which Captain Humboldt climbed to the top of in 1802 and was then known as the highest mountain in the world.

In the front of the painting, various plants are drawn, and in the left side of the painting, there is white tree trunk which is the trademark of Church. And you can see his signature of the tree.

Even though this work is huge, he painted the flowers and trees that praise to God, the Creator with small brush strokes like a botanical book.

The meaning of waterfall in the middle is the beginning of the Amazon, and the two indigenous people standing in front of the cross near the stagnant water symbolize feeling of the moment that received the gospel which spread to South America.

In this way Church painted the majestic landscapes of the Americas trying to endure the chaotic life and complicated diplomatic and political problems of the colonies who set out in search of faith. It seems that for the faith that is not entangled with the reality we sometimes need to enjoy nature.

Like the majestic nature the glory of the gospel that transcends our perception and experience is so majestic and great that even the suffering and shame on this earth become as small as dust when we think of it.

Like this God expects us to grow beyond the problems we face while enjoying the omnipotence and wisdom of the Father, rather than living in the struggle for fight for the dominance or worries in this world. On the other hand, we forget the value of being God’s heirs and live with anger and resentment over how small things are. I hope you can enjoy God the Creator while watching <Heart of the Andes>.

Sang Yoon Lee, Art Critic

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