Holy Trinity inspires Renoir-related Coralie Cocktail Table

Holy Trinity inspires Renoir-related Coralie Cocktail Table

The Coralie Cocktail Table’s base not only emulates the Renoir chair, but also represent the Holy Trinity and the stabilizing force for the glass.


When asked to create a series of furniture pieces to bring out each quality in a renowned painting for The Metropolitan Art Museum in New York, Ernie Hershberger and his team took on a monumental task. In accepting the challenge of tying together the artists’ vision with each piece of furniture, Hershberger and his team insisted each piece be steeped in the Anabaptist faith.

Over the next weeks, we will take an in-depth look inside each piece of art and furniture that together make up the seven-piece set series, “The Met Collection,” by Abner Henry to see exactly how they drew inspiration from art and held true to faith in their work.

Renoir: “By the Seashore” — Coralie Cocktail Table

“Supported by the Holy Trinity”

“By the Seashore” is yet another masterful painting from the mind of French painter Auguste Renoir. In his typical Impressionist style, Renoir is best known for his paintings that celebrate female beauty, and “By the Seashore” brings together that beauty with the cascading, rolling sea.

While nobody knows for certain who this woman was, the painting was inspired by the artist’s trips to the coast of Normandy and to Italy, which informed both the imagined setting of the painting and the traditional pose and manner of portraiture hearkening back to Renaissance art.

For Ernie Hershberger, having his team at Homestead Furniture pull out the minute details and closely-knit cold colors of the blue and green ocean tide that enhance the beauty of the woman and her darker hues of blue was a challenge.

Hershberger said they ruined more than a few tabletops trying to emulate and perfect the flowing hues of blue, aqua and emerald in the painting. Eventually, they found a way to incorporate the colors and patterns into the Coralie Cocktail Table.

But the importance of this piece isn’t just the colors of the tabletop because underneath the glass is the support of the legs, which maintain deep meaning.

The team also built the table around the intertwined wicker of the chair in the painting, creating a base that emulates that feature.

With each leg of the base including three intertwined pieces of steel overlaid with brass, Hershberger said that represents the Holy Trinity of Father, Son and Holy Spirit.

“The base is very elegant in its nature, but the strands are tied together multiple times and are the whole support of the piece of furniture, which is like the Holy Trinity being our support,” Hershberger said.

The inspiration for the tabletop included a tip of the cap to Millersburg Glass, which radiates beauty through its iridescent glass.

Hershberger said the colors and flow of Millersburg Glass pieces are nearly identical to what they wanted to create for this table.

After a half-dozen failed attempts to work with various glass companies throughout Ohio, the team finally found a compatible partner in a Polish immigrant glass worker in Cleveland who was willing to go the extra mile in recreating the appeal and texture of Renoir’s painting and of Millersburg Glass.

“To me this piece is what creation would have looked like in things moving together and the order God brought out of it,” Hershberger said. “There’s a lot going on, a lot of movement, and it explodes in color and beauty and is an inspiration.”

The faith identity swirling around the vibrant hues of deep blues, greens and purples is that the piece is centered around Christ, the Holy Trinity and how God created the universe.

The piece is filled with action and movement and is at once chaotic and peaceful.

“The top of the table is God’s creation, and it represents life in a sense, that amid all of the turmoil is this understanding that there is all of this beauty and stillness and a recognition that God created us and supports us, loves us and wants us to always strive to serve,” Hershberger said.

He said the creation of the Coralie table was filled with many hurdles and missteps, but like life itself, the team persevered to overcome those struggles and in the end created a piece of furniture that brought the Renoir painting to life.

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