I just wanted to share a few Nativity scene paintings that I stumbled across the other day when surfing the net. They are by contemporary artists. I just love the tenderness, gentleness and unity that they portray.
(I do hope I’m not infringing any copyrights, but I have linked the names of the painters with their brief bios and also the sites where their work is available, if that’s any compensation!)
So here they are:-
At this point, I’m also going to include an oil painting that I did 20 years ago. It is a copy of William Hunt’s (Pre-Raphaelite) Light of the World. However, I wasn’t happy with the way I had painted Jesus’ eyes; also some of the paint had disintegrated due to being exposed to dripping rain water which I hadn’t noticed because the painting was in my ‘attic’ — so last week I took it along to my art class in Posadas (Cordova), and my very-talented teacher, Antonio Peso, helped me out. Thank you, Antonio!
The Light of the World (1851–1853) is an allegorical painting by the English Pre-Raphaelite artist William Holman Hunt (1827–1910) representing the figure of Jesus preparing to knock on an overgrown and long-unopened door, illustrating Revelation 3:20: «Behold, I stand at the door and knock; if any man hear My voice, and open the door, I will come in to him, and will sup with him, and he with Me».
According to Hunt: «I painted the picture with what I thought, unworthy though I was, to be divine command, and not simply a good subject.»
The door in the painting has no handle, and can therefore be opened only from the inside, representing «the obstinately shut mind» — Wikipedia.
And to end with, here’s a lovely Christmas Carol — In the Bleak Mid-Winter (compiled or hung by Sarah J Allen, I think). The words to this carol were originally written by the English writer from the Pre-Raphaelite movement, Christina Rossetti (1830-1894).
Here are the lyrics:
In the bleak midwinter Frosty wind made moan Earth stood hard as iron Water like a stone Snow had fallen Snow on snow on snow In the bleak midwinter Long, long ago.
Angels and Archangels May have travelled there Cherubim and Seraphim Thronged the air But only his Mother In her maiden bliss Worshiped the beloved With a kiss.
What can I give him? Poor as I am If I were a shepherd I would give a lamb If I were a wise man I would do my part But what I can I give him Give him my heart Give him my heart.
Happy Christmas to everyone! May the peace and love of Christ and his Holy family reign in our hearts and dwell amongst us all! xxx
Firstly, sorry to say that the photos in this post and the last 4 posts have been eliminated due to insufficient space on the multimedia (see my later post for details…)
As you may or may not know, today is the Epiphany, or Three Kings (or Reyes Magos, as it is known here in Spain) — the day when presents are given.
Last night I found my present — the first almond blossom! And here it is…
The Three Kings is a day that is very celebrated here in Spain when presents are traditionally exchanged. Usually floats bearing the Kings Gasper, Balthazar and Melchor, together with loads of sweets and presents are paraded along the streets, to the delight of the thronging crowds. Although these parades have been banned this year due to THE virus, children (and adults) can still give their letters to The Three Kings the day before, asking what they wish for.
Below is a photo taken from our local village Posadas, inviting people to come (in an orderly fashion with everyone wearing masks of course!)
And to finish, here’s a poem from one of my favourite authors, D.H. Lawrence. (Mind you, to be honest, I didn’t realise til lately that he started out as a poet.) For his short biography here is an interesting link.
Almond Blossom — D.H Lawrence (England, 1885- France, 1930)
Even iron can put forth,
This is the iron age,
But let us take heart
Seeing iron break and bud,
Seeing rusty iron puff with clouds of blossom.
December’s bare iron hooks sticking out of earth.
That knows the deadliest poison, like a snake
In supreme bitterness.
Upon the iron, and upon the steel,
Odd flakes as if of snow, odd bits of snow,
Odd crumbs of melting snow.
But you mistake, it is not from the sky;
From out the iron, and from out the steel,
Flying not down from heaven, but storming up,
Strange storming up from the dense under-earth
Along the iron, to the living steel
In rose-hot tips, and flakes of rose-pale snow
Setting supreme annunciation to the world.
Nay, what a heart of delicate super-faith,
The rusty swords of almond-trees.
Trees suffer, like races, down the long ages.
They wander and are exiled, they live in exile through long ages
Like drawn blades never sheathed, hacked and gone black,
The alien trees in alien lands: and yet
The heart of blossom,
The unquenchable heart of blossom!
Look at the many-cicatrised frail vine, none more scarred and frail,
Yet see him fling himself abroad in fresh abandon
From the small wound-stump.
Even the wilful, obstinate, gummy fig-tree
Can be kept down, but he’ll burst like a polyp into prolixity.
And the almond-tree, in exile, in the iron age!
This is the ancient southern earth whence the vases were baked, amphoras, craters, cantharus, oenochoe, and open-hearted cylix,
Bristling now with the iron of almond-trees
Iron, but unforgotten,
Ever-beating dawn-heart, enveloped in iron against the exile, against the ages.
See it come forth in blossom
From the snow-remembering heart
In long-nighted January,
In the long dark nights of the evening star, and Sirius, and the Etna snow-wind through the long night.
Sweating his drops of blood through the long-nighted Gethsemane
Into blossom, into pride, into honey-triumph, into most exquisite splendour.
Oh, give me the tree of life in blossom
And the Cross sprouting its superb and fearless flowers!
Something must be reassuring to the almond, in the evening star, and the snow-wind, and the long, long, nights,
Some memory of far, sun-gentler lands,
So that the faith in his heart smiles again
And his blood ripples with that untenable delight of once-more-vindicated faith,
And the Gethsemane blood at the iron pores unfolds, unfolds,
Pearls itself into tenderness of bud
And in a great and sacred forthcoming steps forth, steps out in one stride
A naked tree of blossom, like a bridegroom bathing in dew, divested of cover,
Frail-naked, utterly uncovered
To the green night-baying of the dog-star, Etna’s snow-edged wind
And January’s loud-seeming sun.
Think of it, from the iron fastness
Suddenly to dare to come out naked, in perfection of blossom, beyond the sword-rust.
Think, to stand there in full-unfolded nudity, smiling,
With all the snow-wind, and the sun-glare, and the dog-star baying epithalamion.
Oh, honey-bodied beautiful one,
Come forth from iron,
Red your heart is.
Fragile-tender, fragile-tender life-body,
More fearless than iron all the time,
And so much prouder, so disdainful of reluctances.
In the distance like hoar-frost, like silvery ghosts communing on a green hill,
Hoar-frost-like and mysterious.
In the garden raying out
With a body like spray, dawn-tender, and looking about
With such insuperable, subtly-smiling assurance,
No bounds being set.
Flaked out and come unpromised,
The tree being life-divine,
Fearing nothing, life-blissful at the core
Within iron and earth.
Knots of pink, fish-silvery
In heaven, in blue, blue heaven,
Soundless, bliss-full, wide-rayed, honey-bodied,
Red at the core,
Red at the core,
Knotted in heaven upon the fine light.
Five times wide open,
Six times wide open,
And given, and perfect;
And red at the core with the last sore-heartedness,