Wednesday, August 26, 2009

Age of Chiaroscuro

Hughes Oliphant Old, "Matthew Henry and the Puritan Discipline of Family Prayer," Calvin Studies VII (Davidson College: 1994), p. 79:

[Matthew] Henry's prayers of confession do not really live up to what our age has been taught to expect from the Puritan. One does not find his dwelling on sin pathological or morose. One finds that his dwelling on sin is well balanced by his dwelling on God's mercy. The seventeenth century was, after all, the age of chariscuro [chiaroscuro]. It was Rembrandt's resonant browns and blacks which made his golds and whites so brilliant. If they could be so realistic about the blackness of sin, it was because they were dazzled by the radiance of God's grace.

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