The Servant – 6 April 2020
This is a preparatory sketch for a larger painting. It shows a servant preparing food in a kitchen. The servant works alone, giving her full concentration to the task before her. This sketch was produced quickly using thinned paint, catching the diligence of the servant as she works. The woman subject is barely present, hardly seen, as is commonly the case for those who serve. It is not common for artists to paint servants, they are as hidden in art as they are in life. Servants are invisible, until a time comes when their daily services are shown to be indispensable. Then the least become the first, the most important, and those that are served know themselves to be the last.
The picture is a portrait of Grace Huggens, servant to the artist Venessa Bell at Charleston. Although the Charleston household had fluid boundaries in many ways, there remained there a strict hierarchy of mistress and servant. Grace knew her place, and kept to it, not drawing any attention to herself.
Let the same mind be in you that was in Christ Jesus,
who, though he was in the form of God,
did not regard equality with God
as something to be exploited,
but emptied himself,
taking the form of a slave,
being born in human likeness.
And being found in human form,
he humbled himself
and became obedient to the point of death—
even death on a cross.
So let us learn how to serve
And in our lives enthrone Him
Each other’s needs to prefer
For it is Christ we’re serving.
This is our God, the Servant King –
He calls us now to follow Him
To bring our lives as a daily offering
Of worship to the Servant King.
Graham Kendrick, The Servant King