Of the some 30 parables in the New Testament, the most often represented
in Western art is "The Parable of the Prodigal Son." Even without visual interpretation,
the drama of the literary images is such that the reader cannot fail to be
impressed. The story contrasts the behavior of a man's two sons after he has
given each his portion of his inheritance. The older son is the responsible
one: he remains at home, continuing to work with his father. The younger,
on the other hand, rushes off to seek a life of adventure. In short order,
his inheritance has been squandered. He is reduced, finally, to swilling a
stranger's pigs in a foreign land.
Southgate MT. Return of the Prodigal Son. JAMA. 2002;287(5):555. doi:10.1001/jama.287.5.555
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