• Matt Ager

Get the picture?

This picture is called "Portrait of a Lady" and was created by artist Gustav Klimt from 1916-1917. It's valued at $60million. I'm not an art critic so my opinion isn't worth typing. Moreover, there are a number of paintings that are touching $300million, so this is a relative bargain! However, "Portrait of a Lady" has hit the headlines over the past couple of weeks for an interesting reason...

It was stolen in 1997, supposedly by thieves using a fishing line from a skylight. Its whereabouts were unknown until a few weeks ago, when it was found in a wall cavity after gardeners cleared away overgrown ivy. Other than being quite dusty it is in remarkably good condition. The amazing thing though? The wall is part of the art gallery - the painting was only a few metres from where it was stolen!*

We found this story to be the ideal launchpad for a super message to those in the secondary schools:

It started as a blank canvas - it was no different to any other painting that has ever been created. How it took shape was entirely down to the artist.

We are blank canvases. How we choose to ‘look’ is entirely down to us - no-one else holds the paintbrush.

People thought it was gone for ever...but it was there all along!

We need to remember that, through all our designing, we're not actually doing anything new. The creation is already there in us, we’re already perfect and gallery-ready - we just need to unearth it and hang it where it belongs!

There’s another picture underneath!

"Portrait of a Lady" isn't the first painting to go on the canvas. Under x-ray, you can see a completed picture Klimt drew, but its story reminded him of a sad memory so he decided to start again. We may feel like “I’ve already determined the design of my life and while I’m not happy with it, it’s too late - this is who I am and I’m stuck with it” (behaviour, poor decisions, experiences). There's great news! We can paint over it and start again without the old one showing through...if that's you, choose a new design today!

Obviously the assembly is a little less cryptic than the above as we hit home the relevance of each point to our young people. To conclude, we're using 2 Corinthians 5:17 to labour the point:

Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, the new creation has come:

The old has gone, the new is here!

While this relates specifically to those who are born again in Jesus, its relevance is the choosing to start again bit. So many young people need that reassurance that their canvas isn't spoiled or incomplete. They are in charge of how it looks...and can repaint whenever they like!

It appears to be hitting the spot so far.

*The article has been recently updated to say that thieves have supposedly come forward toc confess it was only stashed there a few years ago. Nevertheless, it's crying out for a movie to be made!

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