I don’t usually post fiction on my blog. In fact, I don’t think I ever have before. But I’ve written 3 short stories for Idylls for the King, the Christian Literary blog I contribute to that is currently on summer hiatus. I decided I wanted to re-post this short story to share it here.
The museum opened at 8:00 a.m. Claire was standing on the steps at 7:55 restlessly waiting for the doors to open. She had spent the entire day here yesterday. At the end of the day she had come across the most beautiful painting she had ever seen, but the museum was closing and she had to leave. She was back because she had to see that painting again and learn who the Artist was.
As the museum curator unlocked and opened the doors, Claire rushed past him straight to that wonderful painting. It was a beautiful landscape with snow-capped mountains in the background, a pristine lake fed by a small stream in the foreground; she could almost hear the babbling of the stream over its bed of rocks and it actually seemed to be flowing in the painting. Surrounding the lake was a field of the most vibrant and colorful flowers. In the distance beyond the lake was a forest of green trees that seemed to sway as if by a gentle breeze.
She longed to know who the Artist was, but there was no placard indicating the name of the painting or the Artist. She also wondered what medium it had been painted in. At first glance it seemed to be an oil painting, but then it had the appearance of water colors, and even that didn’t seem quite right.
Just then, the curator walked by. “Pardon me,” ventured Claire, “but can you tell me who the Artist is for this painting?”
“The Artist is unknown,” replied the curator. “Research has been done and many have speculated, but there is just no way for us to know for sure who the Artist is.”
Hours passed as Claire gazed at the painting, taking in every exquisite inch of the landscape it portrayed. Other museum patrons passed by, but few stopped to look at this painting. She couldn’t understand why because it was more wonderful than all the other pieces of artwork in all the museum.
About noon, Frederick noticed Claire, and thinking she was quite beautiful he approached her. He stood beside her looking at the painting, but not really seeing it. “Hello,” he said to Claire.
“Hello.” Thinking he might know something about this painting, Claire asked Frederick, “Do you know who the Artist is who painted this masterpiece?”
“Oh, I know all about this painting because I have studied it quite extensively. There is no Artist,” Frederick quipped.
Claire was startled. “No Artist? What do you mean? How can that possibly be? It is so beautiful and the colors and textures are so complex.”
Claire turned her attention back to the painting. “What a fool,” she thought to herself. Frederick could see that he wasn’t going to get anywhere with this conquest, so he moved on to a more gullible mark.
Lunch time came and went, but Claire never took her eyes off the painting and seemed to not need food. Closing time was fast approaching and she wanted to instill the beauty of this painting in her mind and in her heart until she could return again tomorrow. Maybe then she would find someone who could tell her about the Artist and how He had created this magnificent design.