Sunday, July 24, 2011

The Praying Hands

Back in the fifteenth century, in a tiny village near Nuremberg, lived a family with eighteen children.

Eighteen~~ In order merely to keep food on the table for this mob, the father and head of the household, a goldsmith by profession, worked almost eighteen hours a day at his trade and any other paying chore he could find in the neighborhood.

Despite their seemingly hopeless condition, two of the elder children, Albrecht and Albert, had a dream. They both wanted to pursue their talent for art, but they knew full well that their father would never be financially able to send either of them to Nuremberg to study at the Academy.

After many long discussions at night in their crowded bed, the two boys finally worked out a pact. They would toss a coin. The loser would go down into the nearby mines and, with his earnings, support his brother while he attended the academy. Then, when that brother who won the toss completed his studies, in four years, he would support the other brother at the academy, either with sales of his artwork or, if necessary, also by laboring in the mines.

They tossed a coin on a Sunday morning after church. Albrecht Durer won the toss and went off to Nuremberg.

Albert went down into the dangerous mines and, for the next four years, financed his brother, whose work at the academy was almost an immediate sensation. Albrecht's etchings, his woodcuts, and his oils were far better than those of most of his professors, and by the time he graduated, he was beginning to earn considerable fees for his commissioned works.

When the young artist returned to his village, the Durer family held a festive dinner on their lawn to celebrate Albrecht's triumphant homecoming. After a long and memorable meal, punctuated with music and laughter, Albrecht rose from his honored position at the head of the table to drink a toast to his beloved brother for the years of sacrifice that had enabled Albrecht to fulfill his ambition. His closing words were, "And now, Albert, blessed brother of mine, now it is your turn.

Now you can go to Nuremberg to pursue your dream, and I will take care of you."

All heads turned in eager expectation to the far end of the table where Albert sat, tears streaming down his pale face, shaking his lowered head from side to side while he sobbed and repeated, over and over, ""

Finally, Albert rose and wiped the tears from his cheeks. He glanced down the long table at the faces he loved, and then, holding his hands close to his right cheek, he said softly, "No, brother. I cannot go to Nuremberg. It is too late for me. Look...look what four years in the mines have done to my hands! The bones in every finger have been smashed at least once, and lately I have been suffering from arthritis so badly in my right hand that I cannot even hold a glass to return your toast, much less make delicate lines on parchment or canvas with a pen or a brush.

No, brother...for me it is too late."

More than 450 years have passed. By now, Albrecht Durer's hundreds of masterful portraits, pen and silver-point sketches, watercolors, charcoals, woodcuts, and copper engravings hang in every great museum in the world, but the odds are great that you, like most people, are familiar with only one of Albrecht Durer's works. More than merely being familiar with it, you very well may have a reproduction hanging in your home or office.

One day, to pay homage to Albert for all that he had sacrificed, Albrecht Durer painstakingly drew his brother's abused hands with palms together and thin fingers stretched skyward. He called his powerful drawing simply "Hands," but the entire world almost immediately opened their hearts to his great masterpiece and renamed his tribute of love "The Praying Hands."

The next time you see a copy of that touching creation, take a second look. Let it be your reminder, if you still need one, that no one - NO ONE - - ever makes it alone!

In my home we also own a beautiful praying hands sculpture made by my dear hubby in 1972. While in college, he prepared and cleaned, fired and hand painted this gorgeous ceramic bisque praying hands for my parents that Christmas. They loved it and enjoyed it to the day they left this world. Now we display it in our home here in Texas as a reminder, the power of prayer.

I received this wonderful story from a dear friend who is also a devoted and faithful prayer warrior. I thought it fitting to share it with you today. I hope you have enjoyed this bit of artistic history.
For more information of this incredible artist, visit HERE to read more and view Albrecht Durer's many works.

Have a special Sunday and blessings to you and yours.
Celestina Marie xo


Ginny said...

tears...tears...those hands are beautiful...what a lovely remembrance from the works of your very own husband's hands.
Gotta wipe my keyboard..too many tears.

Gone said...

I love the praying hands, Celeste, and the story about Albert. Thanks for sharing.

Kerri said...

WOW, being married to another creative soul must be pure joy! Thanks for sharing such inspirational stories with us. I love to visit your blog!

Have a blessed Sunday :)


Anonymous said...

Celestina - A moving story I remember from my own studies, but had forgotten until you reminded me today. So much here to meditate on and see deeper cuts of the diamond in God's character illustrating spiritual truths through the lives of real people! Bless you!
Miss Kathy

Rebecca P said...

Thank you for sharing that wonderful & beautiful story. As the daughter of a Preacher, I grew up with a photo of the "Praying Hands" but never knew the story of the painting.
Your Husbands artistic skills are wonderful.

Julie Marie said...

Oh Celeste, what a beautiful, touching story!... I know of the Praying Hands but had not known the story behind them... simply amazing... and how precious your hubby made praying hands for you with his very own hands... a priceless heirloom I know how much you treasure... xoxo Julie Marie

Patti said...

Such a beautiful and touching story...brought tears to my eyes.

And, yes, the power of prayer is amazing. I am thankful for those that bring me before the throne of Grace...and for the privilege God has given us to come to him.

Blessings and hugs,

1CardCreator said...

Thank you for sharing this powerful story. I never knew the story behind the painting, it is most beautiful. The sculptured hands are gorgeous also.

"Create Beauty" said...

One brother laying down his life for the other, that is what Jesus did.... I've never heard this touching story of the Praying Hands before, thank you for sharing it!

~ Violet

Anonymous said...

I never knew the story behind this art. Now it is even more meaningful. I have the privilege and honor to pray for many and I think I might purchase the Praying Hands to remind me of the inspiring testimony that goes with it.

Thanks for sharing, Celeste. Have a gorgeous Monday.

Draffin Bears said...

Hi Celestina Marie,

Such a moving and beautiful story and many thanks for sharing.
I was not aware of the story behind the Praying hands, so was good to find out about this.
Prayers and thoughts go out to the people of Norway.


Shane Pollard said...

Dear Celestina Marie

a wonderful lesson indeed and so beautifully re-told in your post - especially on God's day - thank you.

Wishing you a wonderful week mon amie!


Mariette's Back to Basics said...

Dearest Celestina Marie,

In our Rose Suite we have a print of 'The Praying Hands' Albrecht Durer, (1471-1528) Be careful for nothing; but in every thing by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known unto God. -Phil 4:6 (KJV)

We did not know the touching story behind it... What a fate! And een Albrecht did nog reach an old age but that was the norm for that time I guess. I have looked at all 37 pages of his paintings; incredible and what an insight does he give us into that era!
Your husband produced his own Praying Hands in a very special work of art and love!

Lots of love,



I loved this story. Thanks so much for sharing it.
Have a great day!
~ Julie

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Celestina Marie
Celestina Marie

Welcome To Rose Garden Market from Celestina Marie Design. It is so nice to meet you. My name is Celestina Marie named after my grandmother and my friends call me Celeste.My creative journey extends over 30 years enjoying the love of painting and redesigning vintage and new treasures. I love to go treasure hunting and the fun of finding great vintage pieces to redesign..