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"For He Had Great Possessions" by Watts | by Martin Beek
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"For He Had Great Possessions" by Watts

Luke 18:18-23

[18] A certain ruler asked him, "Good teacher, what must I do to inherit eternal life?"


[19] "Why do you call me good?" Jesus answered. "No one is good -- except God alone. [20] You know the commandments: 'Do not commit adultery, do not murder, do not steal, do not give false testimony, honor your father and mother.'"


[21] "All these I have kept since I was a boy," he said.


[22] When Jesus heard this, he said to him, "You still lack one thing. Sell everything you have and give to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven. Then come, follow me."


[23] When he heard this, he became very sad, because he was a man of great wealth.


[24] Jesus looked at him and said, "How hard it is for the rich to enter the kingdom of God! [25] Indeed, it is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle than for a rich man to enter the kingdom of God."


Watts shared similar preoccupations to that of the aesthetic movement with its reliance upon the beauty of classical antique and Italian sources. The painter was friendly with Julia Margaret Cameron (1815-79) the iconic photographer, if one thinks of her blurred portraits and ill defined yet highly suggestive photos one can see a close relationship, Watt's paintings have a granular indistinct almost impressionist surface, matted layers of paint applied over rough canvas, not for him the smooth gesso white boards of the Pre Raphelite painters, his vast canvases often remind one of crumbling stucco. Their indistinct quality like the late Titian leads one's mind to formulate vast distances and conjure up ghosts. Watts as early as 1873 said his painting "Chaos " was influenced buy looking at cracks and stains on a dirty plaster wall, whilst "The Sower of The Systems" was influenced by patterns cast upon a ceiling by a lamp, it became a formless swirl of strokes, barely more than a gesture depicting the Deity as he put it, and it was painted in 1902 when artists elsewhere in Europe were moving towards forms of abstraction in painting.

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Taken on March 3, 2007