Archive for Peter Hitchens

The Prodigal Son

Posted in Painting with tags , on July 7, 2017 by Dylan Thomas Hayden

Benton,Prodigal

He has come home too late. Nobody has seen him from afar and run joyfully to meet him. There will be no forgiveness, no best robe, no ring, no “music and dancing”. He stands in his shabby clothes with his poor, roped suitcase. A beaten-up car- the last trace of his squandered wealth- parked in the background. He is gaping, with his hand to his mouth, at the ruin of the family homestead, ruin caused by his own greed and wastefulness. He looks as if it is just dawning on him that he is stupid and cruel and without hope. The light is failing in a chilly sky beneath wind-ripped, twisted clouds. Instead of a fatted calf, there is a stark white animal skeleton, the skull horned, lying in the unattended grass. We can guess at the grief, resignation, and failure that have overtaken the family and its home during his heedless absence. Who can he blame for it but himself? The desolation is infinite.

Text: Peter Hitchens, The Rage Against God. Grand Rapids: Zondervan, 2010
Image: Thomas Hart Benton, The Prodigal Son, oil and tempera on panel, c. 1939-41, Dallas Museum of Art
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