Compiled by Bruce Menzies

“Woman Gathering Flowers” reveals Renoir’s acute awareness of the social and cultural meanings of the subjects he chose. The background hint at the environs of Paris, with a villa at far right and a church and river bridge at far left, though the precise site has not been identified. The young woman stands stiffly amid a flowery meadow, a bunch of flowers in her hand and her costume shows that she is a Parisian.

From the Old Masters to the Impressionists such as Vincent van Gogh, flowers have always been a source of inspiration. (If we had to guess what van Gogh’s favorite flower is, we’d guess the sunflower.) Even Jesus Himself was referred to as the Rose of Sharon and the Lily of the Valley.

How often do we notice the colorful flowers in God’s creation? Sometime walk through a park or prairie and see the Coneflowers, Black-Eyed Susans, or Lilies. Jesus said in Matthew 6:29 that even Solomon in all his splendor was not arrayed as one of these little flowers. So, if this is what God thinks of his flowers, how much more does He think of us?

You’ve heard the lyric, “…red and yellow, black and white, we are precious in His sight…,” well, we are precious in His sight. God has created each of us in His image and gave us the capacity to love, show compassion, and experience redemption. We each have a different amount of time on this earth to bloom but we can all display God’s mercy and love.

Woman gathering Flowers (Femme cueillant des fleurs)

(1874) Oil on canvas. 25-3/4” x 29-1/8”

Sterling and Francine Clark Art Institute, Williamstown, Ma.

Woman Gathering Flowers