Christmas - the birth of Christ
Icon - Birth of Jesus Christ (Russian, 16th century)
Meditatively simple, light-filled Christmas icon! Mary gave everything, she gave birth to Christ. She rests in purple on a red, her legs wrapped in purple, her arms on her body, her gaze directed at Joseph.
Joseph is lost in thought, before him the tempter dressed like Papageno (Mozart). Or is the searching man from the cosmos? Or the prophet Isaiah "The young woman will conceive and bear a son..."? In any case, Mary's gaze radiates security and faith in the middle. She seeks Joseph to convince him and all of us: "Today the Savior is born!
Paradisiacal trees and plants as well as animals can be seen in the field. The mountains rise up into the sky - out of the heavenly segment the Holy Spirit appears, who points to the center of the earth in a triune form: a cave with the child in a grave-like manger. Ox and donkey are the only representatives of the cosmos at Christ's manger - and grave! Christ is born in that cave which is our deepest depths, where nightmares torture us or fear and guilt of conscience. There he redeems and heals our lives through death and grave! This is the innermost part of the icon, the core of our contemplation!
Above, angels sing the praise of God in eternity, with veiled hands as a sign of reverence. Above right, one of the angels turns to the shepherds for the heavenly message, sparsely but expressively depicted in this picture. The shepherd on the right responds with a trumpet blow that the plant of paradise is bending away. Like the wise men (astrologers) on the left with their typical Babylonian caps, the shepherds come to the manger and worship.
At the bottom right, two maidens bathe the child - "Truly become human"! - in the foreground the nurse Susanne, who already has her dress open to lay the child against her breast.
Secondary scenes are often inserted, especially about John the Baptist. But the essential is better, it helps us to meditate: without details, without words, without images - the child teaches us.
A "classical" image of worship -
My advice: 10 minutes time,
with finger and look in the portrait
transfer the notes below!
Hugo van der Goes, Adoration of the shepherds, 1476 (253 x 304 cm, Uffizi Florence)
Client: Tommaso Portinari, banker of the Medici (Florence) in Bruges
Keywords for the picture of van der Goes
Mary and Joseph - adoring.
Joseph - shoe:
Allusion to Moses in front of burning thorn bush
("Take off your shoes, this is holy ground!")
Child in a halo, on the floor - crib.
Stable and city, open composition.
In front grain (bread) and flowers.
Angels on the lower right
and upper left with brocade dresses.
All angels are amazed and worship!
The shepherd's field (top right).
Shepherds from the people,
they hear, believe, come,
Ox and donkey.
Column in front left.
Landscape in the back.
Perspective (size, colors, meaning).
Eyes, faces and hands.
Light and shadow.
Clothes - folds and fabrics.
I bend down to you,
I turn to you,
I like you, kid,
and I love you!
Birth of Jesus Christ - Chrismas
Rogier van der Weyden, Adoration (1455)
The Three Kings are portraits of the last great dukes of Burgundy -
John the Fearless, Philip the Good and Charles the Bold.
next Easter - Descent into Hell >