Seeing past the current events in Ukraine to a future of forgiveness

The events of the last few weeks in Ukraine have caused us to pause writing this newsletter several times, not knowing what to say, as we watched in shock then horror at Putin’s unjustified invasion and destruction of Ukraine unfold.

It has become clear that one of Putin’s aims is to destroy the culture and identity of the Ukrainian people including their art. Per initial reports, renowned Ukrainian artist Maria Prymachenko’s work at a museum outside Kyiv was targeted with bombardment during the fighting with only a few works safely removed.

In 2009, Miriam took a trip to Russia to include a tour of The Hermitage Museum in St. Petersburg. I think it appropriate to share the work she did after the trip as well as her thoughts on the biblical story of the prodigal son upon which Rembrandt’s work was based. Why?

The story depicted is one of forgiveness and reconciliation—two salves both the combatants and the world impacted by their conflict will need to find in the coming months and years.


Featured Image Above:

“The Prodigal Son” by Miriam McClung, 2009. Oil on canvas. 60″ x 48″. Available for acquisition.

“I always admired Rembrandt and his beautiful way of telling any story in amazing paint. The Prodigal, for me, hit the highest note in art and the Bible.

Through a family member, I had the opportunity to go on a cruise to Russia and the highlight was The Hermitage in St. Petersburg. 

There were so many incredible rooms of gold, fine cloth, and paintings on the tour. During the tour, there was a slowdown and one could see a room beyond of incredible green with the painting of Rembrandt’s Prodigal. You could see it yards away for it read beautifully. On getting closer there was a crowd around the work and of the figure kneeling down before his father impacted me. He was so humble and poor. The Father in his fine robes was welcoming him home.

The brother stood by in a shadow looking angrily at the scene. The rendering of the son’s feet and the Father’s hands told me the whole story of the Father’s forgiveness.

The Father told the brother “My son, you are always with me, and everything I have is yours. But we had to celebrate and be glad, because this brother of yours was dead and is alive again; he was lost and is found.” (Luke 15: 31-32)

– Miriam