Not that I’ve tried that hard, but I can’t find any commentary on this piece. It’s clearly packed with meaning. I’m going to tell you what I read into it and why it speaks to my heart.
Today, as I’m sure has been people’s experience throughout the ages, we’re surrounded by corruption and darkness. And the problem is, we can’t see it, because we’re so caught up in it ourselves. The world around us is filled with things that are attractive but harmful. I think this painting is a powerful image of finding purity in the midst of the dangers of temptation. This girl is surrounded by dark birds–crows, perhaps–swarmed by them, even. Perhaps she’s let them peck at her and influence her life, perhaps not. But amidst the madness she’s found one white dove. It’s refreshing. She yearns for it and chooses to take that purity in. She recognizes goodness when she sees it. And when she opens her arms to it, it comes to her readily. I think it’s a beautiful symbol of choosing to embrace God even when it seems like everyone and everything else around us is ugly and hostile. It’s hard to remember goodness amidst those distractions. But just like the stunning scenery in this painting, if only we take the effort to look past that corruption, there’s so much goodness and beauty too. Sam Gamgee said in The Lord of the Rings, when looking up at the stars, “There is light and beauty up there that no shadow can touch.” The beauty of creation can be seen all around; there is so much goodness on which we can focus, reminders of God’s presence and power. We just need to remember to turn to Him, to open our arms wide so that He can remain our focus throughout life’s distractions.