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The Abuse of Beauty

The Abuse of Beauty

Oil on recycled canvas
36 x 48”

The painting in the background is Botticelli’s
“The Birth of Venus.” She is born from the water
after Cronus killed his father, Uranus, and cast
part of his remains into the sea. On the left (and
covered here), Zephyr, god of the wind, carries
Chloris, a nymph, and guides the goddess of
beauty to shore. Zephyr violated Chloris, but
she forgave him and transformed into the
goddess Flora on the right. Venus cannot land on
shore because her beauty is unbearable for the
world. Flora covers her with a cloth so she can

Beauty often comes at a price. Venus, the goddess of beauty and love, is born from a violent act. Chloris, which means “pale green” in Greek, is divinized and becomes the goddess Flora through an act of forgiveness toward Zephyr. She is broken by Zephyr yet becomes divine, not because of anything he has done, but because she has chosen to forgive. The lamp is in the style of Kintsugi, a Japanese process of fixing items and making them more aesthetically beautiful in the process. Isn’t this what Resurrection really is – a brokenness made beautiful through reparation. A plain plant that blooms in beauty? But beauty is something we can’t take too much of. It’s something that we have to look for in life. Finding God in all things then requires active attentiveness – seeing life where most see death, seeing God where most see a void, and seeing Easter Sunday where most see Good Friday.

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