Job: Suffering and Sincerity

Reaching within: What traditional art offers the heart

A detail from “Job,” 1880, by Léon Bonnat. Oil on Canvas. (Public Domain)

I recently saw Léon Bonnat’s painting “Job,” which powerfully represents the suffering and spirituality of Job. I decided to visit Job’s story in the Bible, and I came to deeply consider my relationship to my own sufferings.

Léon Bonnat

Léon Bonnat was a French academic painter during the 19th and early 20th centuries. He traveled to Spain to study Spanish Baroque art under Federico Madrazo before returning to Paris to study painting at the École des Beaux-Arts, the national school of art in France.

Instruction at the École, however, had become stagnant and abstract. Instructors were no longer teaching methods for creating art but were theorizing about art, and student work was suffering as a consequence.