/ Mark Loughridge

A tale of two paintings

Perhaps you saw the news item about the Banksy painting that shredded itself after being bought at auction?

Banksy, real name unknown, is an anarchic artist whose graffiti work often provides a provocative critique of society—whether it is a peace dove wearing a bullet-proof vest, or a Mona Lisa with a rocket launcher.

His painting ‘Girl With Balloon’ was the final item in an auction at Sotheby’s on Friday night and went for £1.04m. As the hammer came down, the frame came to life, and the canvas began to pass through a shredder before appearing in strips out of the base.

Banksy posted an image on Instagram of the shredded work, and the shocked faces of those in attendance, with the caption “Going, going, gone… ”.

Imagine having spent £1.04 million and seeing your prize turned into rubbish.

I heard a story about another painting. A wealthy man and his son collected art—everything from Picasso to Raphael. When war broke out, the son signed up, but was killed in battle. One day a young man came to the door. He said, “Sir, you don’t know me, but your son gave his life for me. I know I’m not a great artist, but I painted this for you.”

The father opened the package. The portrait, although not brilliant, captured the personality of his son perfectly. He hung it over his mantle-piece. Every visitor to his home was shown that painting before they saw any of the other great works.

After he died, there was great anticipation in the art world, for his collection was to be put up for auction. Art lovers gathered: some just to catch a glimpse, some to add to their collection.

The catalogue was published in advance. People came with pages marked. Before the great works of art come for up for auction, the auctioneer held up the portrait of the son and announced this one would start the auction.

“What will you bid for this picture?” Silence. Then a voice in the back of the room shouted, “Skip this one, show us the great masters.” But the auctioneer persisted. “Who will start the bidding? $2000… $1000?” More silence. Shuffling. “$500?” Silence.

Then a voice came from the back of the room. It was the long-time gardener of the man and his son. “I only have $10, I’d like to buy the painting.”

“We have $10, who will bid $20?” the auctioneer asked. No takers. Feet shuffled impatiently. “Going once…twice… sold to the man at the back for $10.”

With that the auctioneer laid down his gavel and said, “Ladies and Gentlemen, the auction is over.” There was uproar. He continued, “When I was asked to conduct this auction, there was one condition insisted on by the father: whoever gets the son, gets everything. The gardener has it all.”

So it is with the Son of God—He who gets the Son gets everything.

In Life we all bid for one of two paintings: one which looks valuable, but will end up reduced to rubbish; or one which looks ordinary, but has value for all eternity.

Remember, whoever gets the Son gets everything.

Mark Loughridge

Mark Loughridge

Mark pastors 2 churches in the Republic of Ireland. He is married with three daughters. Before entering the ministry he studied architecture. He enjoys open water swimming, design, and watching rugby.

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