Tuesday, December 15, 2009
Jesus at Twelve
(Jesus At Twelve by Heinrich Hofmann, born March 19, 1824 Darmstadt, Germany)
Several weeks ago I wrote about finding this portrait at the Salvation Army. At the time, I thought it was Joan of Arc and searched the web for confirmation but was unable to locate any information. I decided to let it go and if I needed to know I would be shown. Last weekend my husband, Elliot, son, David, and I stopped by the A.R.E. library. While browsing through the used books for sale, I found an illustrated book, entitled Portrait of Christ for Newlyweds. I was planning to buy it for my son as an omen for his desire to find his helpmeet and get married. I showed him the book and he nodded as he, too, was searching through the selections. While waiting for the librarian to ring up the sale, I leafed through the pages. This picture was so unexpected. It wasn't a young Joan of Arc but Jesus at age twelve! Both Elliot and David were amazed at this synchronicity.
At the same time I found this gem, The Meaning and Value of the Sacraments by Flower Newhouse. I bought them both. Later, I found a passage from her book that made a perfect companion for the portrait of young Jesus that hangs over the dresser in our bedroom.
"Turn your eyes upon Jesus
Look full in His wonderful face
And the things of earth
Will grow strangely dim
In the light of His glory and grace."
Knowing now the artist name, David referred me to many of Hofmann's paintings in The Second Coming of Christ by Yogananda. A beautiful two volume set, he had loaned me on Thanksgiving. I hadn't read it yet. I went to my room and got Volume One in which I found the whole painting "Christ in the Temple". To learn more about the artist I followed his suggestion and searched the Self-Realization Fellowship and Heinrich Hofmann. The artist commented, "About my conception of Jesus, the boy I cannot talk--I believe that the way I have painted him expresses everything I tried to convey." Also, before he painted any scene from the life of Christ he deeply studied the Gospel. Often he would copy out in his own hand a whole passage from the Bible that inspired him. When asked if he ever used a model for the face of the Savior. His answer was, "when he read about Christ in the Bible there arises quite spontaneously in my mind's eye a picture of his countenance--that is what I try to retain and reproduce."
It was amazing that the answer to my search for the artist and subject had been by my bedside all along, although, it wasn't yet time to be revealed. A wonderful reminder to keep my focus on Christ.