The Painting

Book Title: Het leerzaam huisraad : vertoond in vyftig konstige figuuren, met godlyke spreuken en stichtelyke verzen / door Jan Luiken

Author: Luiken, Jan, 1649-1712

Image Title: The Painting

Scripture Reference:

Description: Just as the one who teaches his student about painting directs the eyes both to what can be seen and what cannot, so the Christian looks beyond the immediate and temporal to what is unseen and eternal (2 Corinthians 4:18). The poem adds that in the same way the present world with all its riches and dead monuments cannot teach the soul what is most important nor satisfy an eternal hunger. The Dutch artist and poet Jan Luiken (1649–1712), whose initials are at the lower right, was responsible for drawing and etching this emblem and wrote the accompanying poem.

Motto: It resembles something.

The Painting is but an illusion,
Of Things that exist:
From its Fruit thou canst not Eat,
From its Mouth thou canst not learn,
Likewise the entire visible realm,
Of the pleasure of this time,
The world with its doings and luxuries,
Is like shadows and dead images:
The Spirit can’t be satisfied from it,
The Soul can’t understand from it,
To benefit and serve true life,
To give nourishment, or delight
It is an imaginary good from which the hand,
When grasping never catches anything;
That hand, which seeks to grant the Heart,
The truly essential pleasure.
For the poor Soul, from Eternity,
Cannot in the existence of this time,
Satisfy its Eternal Hunger:
Therefore, must one disdain the Painting
And grasp instead the Essence,
That way one finds the true treasure.

(Translation by Josephine V. Brown, with editorial assistance from William G. Stryker).

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