Masterpieces: Ruined and Restored

There’s something I love about watching a person take something that looks worthless, damaged, or common and turn it into something beautiful, whether it’s Joanna Gaines restoring houses in the show “Fixer Upper,” people who are able to turn someone else’s old junk into a cute vintage piece for their home, or even just seeing what a hairdresser can do with my hair after it’s grown out for a while.

One day on my Facebook newsfeed a video of a man who restores fine art popped up. He also happened to have the same last name as me, so naturally I was even more curious to watch it. I was amazed seeing how he could restore these dirty and damaged pieces of art to their former glory. Whether they had experienced hundreds of years of aging, been accidently ripped or damaged, or been wrongly preserved by another art conservator, his end results were amazing.

The Restoration Process

This man, Julian, starts by researching the painting to become familiar with it. Who was the artist and what techniques did they commonly use with their paintings? What were the paints and varnishes used during this time period? After thoroughly researching the painting he carefully examines the artwork to assess the damage. Is the canvas ripped or torn? Does the paint need retouching? Has it been previously restored? If so what techniques did the previous conservator use? Next he carefully tests different cleaning solutions to choose which one is the best and begins to clean the painting and remove old varnish. Lastly, he meticulously mends the damages and retouches the painting where needed. By the time he is finished working on the paintings they look as good as new.

We are God’s Masterpiece

Similar to the beautiful paintings this man, Julian, works with, we are also masterpieces of our Creator. He crafted this world, planned every color of a sunset, every detail of the ladybug, the complex mathematical design that can be seen throughout the universe. He made planets, galaxies, textures, colors, sounds, tastes, and thousands upon thousands of different plants and animals. But his greatest creation, his masterpiece, is mankind. He made each of us in his image and likeness and breathed his very life into us (Genesis 1:26–27, 2:7).


Despite God’s good plan and design for our lives, we each have followed the way we thought was best for ourselves instead (Jeremiah 29:11, Ephesians 2:10, Romans 5:8). As we followed our own desires, we caused heartache, anxiety, and brokenness to ourselves and the world around us. Sickness, war, decay, and death were brought into a world once filled with peace, wholeness, and perfect beauty. His perfect design in us, and in the world, was ruined.

While he could have looked at the amount of brokenness and just decided to start over, the Creator and Artist had a plan of restoration instead. A plan at great cost to himself. While people have sacrificed and pledged 100s of millions of dollars for the restoration of Notre Dame after it went up in flames, the Creator’s sacrifice for our restoration was much more personal and costly. It meant he would send his beloved Son to fully experience the sickness, brokenness, and death that mankind had brought upon themselves. He would be unjustly mocked, humiliated, and killed, bearing the full weight of mankind’s darkness and brokenness.


But through Christ’s sacrifice we find restoration. Instead of pushing us away, our Creator brought us near by his blood shed on the cross (Ephesians 2:13). He holds us in our ruin and brokenness, though it brought ruin and brokenness upon himself. He takes our ruined old self and makes us new (1 Corinthians 5:17–19).

esther fine art 1

Artist and title unknown

esther fine art 2

Artist and title unknown

His Design

Would you join me in noticing God’s good design? His good design in us. His good design in this world. His good design and plan for our lives. Would you also join me in following his good design? Right now I am thinking of two areas in my own life where I tend to give into fear instead of following God’s design and plan. Is there an area of your own life you find hard to follow his design as shown in his Word? I’m praying for myself and for all of you reading this that we would have the courage and humility to follow our Creator’s design and find restoration through him.

*Various “before and after” photos of Julian’s work

*A longer video showing the amazing restoration of this painting Ave Maria

About the Author

Esther graduated December 2017 with degrees in Music and Accounting from the University of Minnesota. She is currently working as an accounting temp for Robert Half. At First Free she loves volunteering with the nursery and youth group kids. In her free time she might be reading books, playing games, taking road trips, running, playing volleyball, being outside, or hanging out at coffee shops.

Subscribe to the blog

* indicates required
+ posts