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Makoto Fujimura


Come and See

Leonardo da Vinci's Philip in 'The Last Supper'.

The paintings of New York artist Makoto Fujimura defy reproduction. No camera can even approximate the depth and energy of his fusion of abstract expressionism, minimalism, and nihonga, which depends on crushed mineral pigments like azurite and malachite as well as hammered gold and silver leaf. So perhaps it is not surprising that even when engaging, in this essay, with one of the most-reproduced paintings in history, everything depends on a personal encounter. That incarnational approach to both creativity and criticism makes Mako a fitting author of the final essay in our year-long exploration of the question, How can followers of Christ be a counterculture for the common good? For those readers interested in learning more about Mako's life and work, his story is one of six on the just-released DVD from the Christian Vision Project, intersect | culture. In our next issue, we turn to the Project's next theme, global mission, and the question, What must we learn, and unlearn, to be agents of God's mission in the world?

"Nazareth! Can anything good come from there?" Nathaniel asked. "Nazareth! Can anything good come from there?" Nathaniel asked. "Come and see," said Philip.
—John 1:46

The glass door automatically shut behind us as the guide motioned us to enter the inner chamber. We waited, and as another door opened, the cool, dry air enveloped us; a contrast to the July heat in Milan. The courtyard of St. Maria delle Grazie sparkled outside in the morning sun, and I wondered if Leonardo da Vinci stood upon the same rocks that I saw here, 500 years later.

Because of the Da Vinci Code phenomenon, I had received several inquiries about commenting on the book and the movie, and my mind seemed to wander back to the same problem: "I have never seen Leonardo's The Last Supper in person. How could I comment on something that I have not seen?" Yes, I own a magnified version of a photograph of the painting (see plate B), represented in a magnificent book from the University ...

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