|"Saint Joseph Seeks Lodging in Bethlehem," by James Tissot, 1886-1894|
So, I thought I'd take a moment to share some of my favorite depictions of the Christmas story in religious art. It's interesting to me how differently artists imagine and interpret the Bible narrative, filling in the blanks and injecting much of their own culture and perspective into their portrayals. My favorite is "Saint Joseph Seeks Lodging in Bethlehem" by French artist James Tissot. I can almost hear the innkeeper calling down the stairs, "There's no room in the inn!" Joseph seems frantic, Mary looks nervous, and Tissot achieves a fairly realistic background of what Bethlehem might actually have looked like two thousand years ago. The depth and perspective in this painting really draws me into the scene and into the story.
|"Adoration of the Shepherds," by Angelo Bronzino, c. 1540|
Which brings me to the last painting I'll share tonight (this morning? How did it get so late?!):
|"The Star of Bethlehem," by Edward Burne-Jones, Watercolor, 1890|
Burne-Jones, a Pre-Rafaelite Aesthetic artist, has reinvisioned the nativity in an idealized medieval European forest. The magi who have come to pay their respects to the Christ child are bizarrely dressed in what appears to be irridescent silk dupioni and an exquisite jacquard tablecloth -- I know this is ridiculous, but I love how this artist depicted these unlikely fabrics so skillfully, with such a high level of detail and realism. They called it the "Aesthetic Movement" for a reason -- this is absolutely gorgeous. Can you believe this was done in watercolor?
Well, I set out to write a nice post about Advent and focusing on the "reason for the season," but (typically) I ended up right back where I always do, obsessing about FABRIC! Ugh!