Wrestling with God

The Vision After the Sermon (Jacob wrestling with the Angel),Paul Gauguin, 1888, Scottish National Gallery.

I asked my trusty assistant, Sandy Quang, to fill in for me today:

I recently watched a documentary about Oswald Chambers. Chambers was essentially Jacob from Genesis 32-22-32. Chambers had experienced failure in his career as an artist, and one night he went alone to pray in a cave. Like Jacob, Chambers wrestled with God. The moment they went to pray and wrestle with God was the moment of their transition. Following the path of God and following their desire’s yielded different results. Following their own desires had left them cornered, but prayer allowed them to have a change of heart.

Jacob Wrestling with the Angel, Gustave Doré, 1855, wood engraving.
As an art historian, I often see images of Jacob wrestling with an angel and not a man. The first painting that comes to mind is Paul Gauguin’s vibrant “Vision after the Sermon”, and the second is a solemn engraving by Gustave Doré entitled “Jacob Wrestling with the Angel”. Gauguin’s painting is brightly colored, depicted as a spectacle. Breton village women are gathered watching the struggle. As for Doré  the story is depicted as a personal struggle on a cliff, heightening the sense of danger that comes with the struggle. Doré seems to be closer to the truth in his depiction: the quietness of the surrounding in which one ought to wrestle with God. Despite the different portrayal of the subjects, the story of struggle and change rings true. For Jacob, his wrestle with God resulted in a new name, Israel. For Chambers, his wrestle with God resulted in a new career path.
(Sandy Quang)

Join me in October, 2013 at Lakewatch Manor—which is selling out fast—or let me know if you’re interested in painting with me in 2014. Click here for more information on my Maine workshops!
Carol Douglas

About Carol Douglas

Carol L. Douglas is a painter who lives, works and teaches in Rockport, ME. Her annual workshop will again be held on the Schoodic Peninsula in beautiful Acadia National Park, from August 6-11, 2017. Visit www.watch-me-paint.com/ for more information.