The Blind Man’s Meal – 29 October 2018
The blind man sits alone at table. He can see nothing, but his hands stretch out to find the bread and wine that are his meal. The blues of the painting give it a melancholy feel. The bread and wine are contrasts, in a different colour, part of his world and another, at the same time.
Throughout the Bible blindness and sight are used as metaphors for faith. Some look and look and can see nothing. Here a blind man ‘sees’, perceives, where life is located – in the bread and wine on his simple table. In them he will find and taste life.
Blind man’s meal, 1903, is by Pablo Picasso. It is one of the most important of Picasso’s Blue Period canvases. The painting is a restatement in contemporary terms of the Christian sacrament-the ritual of tasting bread and wine to evoke the flesh and blood of Christ. The man’s body is elongated and lit with a mystical light, features reminiscent of El Greco’s mannerist style.
“What do you want me to do for you?” Jesus asked him.
The blind man said, “Rabbi, I want to see.”
“Go,” said Jesus, “your faith has healed you.”
Immediately he received his sight and followed Jesus along the road.
Amazing grace! How sweet the sound
That saved a wretch like me.
I once was lost, but now am found,
Was blind, but now I see.
O gracious and holy Father,
give us wisdom to perceive you,
diligence to seek you,
patience to wait for you,
eyes to behold you,
a heart to meditate upon you,
and a life to proclaim you,
through the power of the Spirit
of Jesus Christ our Lord.
Benedict of Nursia