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Renoir Finds Beauty in the Pain

When French impressionist painter Auguste Renoir was confined to his home during the last decade of his life, Henri Matisse was nearly 28 years younger than him. The two great artists were dear friends and frequent companions. Matisse visited him daily. Renoir, almost paralyzed by arthritis, continued to paint in spite of his infirmities. He had to hold his brush between his thumb and index finger. As he painted, students often heard him crying out in pain.

One day as Matisse watched the elder painter work in his studio, fighting torturous pain with each brush stroke, he blurted out, “Auguste, why do you continue to paint when you are in such agony?” Renoir said, “The pain passes but the beauty remains.”

Possible Preaching Angle:

If we were to speak to Jesus on resurrection morning, He might have said the same thing. The pain of the Cross has passed, but the beauty remains: The beauty of new creation, the beauty of an army of disciples that spans the millennia, the beauty of a kingdom established in the hearts of his people, all this remains. But it may be that you are going through pain just now and you can’t see an end to that pain. Can you trust that out of the pain will come a beauty that will last forever? Give that pain to God and ask him show you its beauty.


Martha Teichner, “Late Renoir: A master ages, and shuns reality,” CBS News (8-8-10)

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