Posted by: Hugh Griffiths | April 6, 2006

Today in history

Folded HandsAlbrecht Durer, one of the world's greatest artists, died on 6 April 1528. His work was often of religious scenes and his high regard for Martin Luther appears to have influenced his life and work. His most famous work is 'Folded Hands' (left) which as well as being a remarkable drawing also reflects something of Durer's character.

When Durer was a young struggling artist, another artist and friend of his agreed to work and earn a living in order to support them both. Although the work was heavy manual labour, the income would be enough to allow Durer to study and paint and then later his friend's turn to paint would come.

Unfortunately, although Durer gained great success and recognition, the hands that had worked to support him had become so twisted and stiff that they could no longer paint with the dexterity and accuracy that fine art demanded. Surprisingly, his friend only rejoiced in Durer's success.

When Durer came across his friend in prayer, he captured his folded hands in this masterpiece as an act of gratitude and thankfulness. This picture was the testimony to the devoted friendship that had allowed him to fulfil his calling as an artist.

This level of friendship is relatively unusual in society today, yet Jesus calls us to give ourselves to relationships in a way that shows similar lack of self-interest. Like Durer's friend, we are called to radically demonstrate God's love and character through our own interactions with others.

My friend Roger Aubrey has posted some short articles on the qualities of  'covenant friendship'. You can catch his latest one on 'Honesty' here and follow the tag to pick up his other related posts. 

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