The Day Before Parting

“The Day before Parting” 1862, Jozef Israëls (Dutch, 1824–1911). Oil on Canvas.
Jozef Israëls was a Jewish Dutch artist who became one of the most celebrated artists of the latter half of the 19th century. His art was admired much by Vincent Van Gogh who said of him “in Jozef Israels, the precious pearl, the human soul, is even more in evidence and better expressed, in a noble, worthier, and if you will allow me, more evangelical tone.”

Israëls work was mostly landscapes, but he had a tremendous ability for capturing the most fragile and beautiful features of human suffering and had a particular affinity for the working poor. This painting poignantly shows the grieving widow of a fisherman the day before her husband’s funeral.

Grief is a universal response to the loss of a beloved. But in our times it has become poorly articulated thanks to the alienating culture of consumerism and mass media.  Regardless of this, artists from all generations are drawn to its depicting its expression and honouring the role it has in deepening our experience of love and grace, and its unmatched transformative power.

Kenn Orphan  2017

Dedicated to the memory of my aunt, Elizabeth “Betty” Orphan (4th July, 1927-2nd August, 2017).  You were a star to me, once on earth, now in the sky.  I will always remember the spark you had for living, your “New York” wit and humour, and your embrace of adventure.  You will be deeply missed and forever loved.


2 thoughts on “The Day Before Parting

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