Posted by: mkl325 | December 25, 2013

Art of the Nativity

The most popular scenes depicted from The New Testament are The Last Supper, The Crucifixion, and the Nativity. As it is Christmas today, here are some different representations of the Nativity. Merry Christmas!

"Adoration of the Magi" Sarcophagus 4th Century  Vatican

“Adoration of the Magi”
Sarcophagus
4th Century
Vatican

I love the camels in this one, as well as the fact that they are pointing at the star.

"Nativity" Encaustic Icon 7th Century Monastery of St. Catherine, Sinai, Egypt

“Nativity”
Encaustic (Hot Wax Process) Icon
7th Century
Monastery of St. Catherine, Sinai, Egypt

Giotto di Bondone "Nativity" 1305 Arena Chapel, Padua, Italy

Giotto di Bondone
“Nativity”
1305
Arena Chapel, Padua, Italy

Fra Angelico "Adoration of the Magi" 15th Century

Fra Angelico
“Adoration of the Magi”
15th Century

Bottecelli "The Mystical Nativity" 1500

Bottecelli
“The Mystical Nativity”
1500

This is referred to as “The Mystical Nativity” because it contains elements of the Book of Revelations in it.

"Cornaro Missal Nativity" Early 17th Century Illuminated Manuscript

“Cornaro Missal Nativity”
Early 17th Century
Illuminated Manuscript

The change in the architecture is an interesting element added into a lot of illuminated manuscripts.

Michelangelo Merisi da Caravaggio "Nativity" 1608 Stolen from the Oratory of San Lorenzo in Palermo in 1969. This is one of the most infamous unsolved art crimes to date.

Michelangelo Merisi da Caravaggio
“Nativity”
1608

Stolen from the Oratory of San Lorenzo in Palermo in 1969. This is one of the most infamous unsolved art crimes to date.

Rembrandt "Adoration of the Magi" 1632

Rembrandt
“Adoration of the Magi”
1632

Both the Rembrandt and the Caravaggio are darker and use the light source to bring the viewer’s eye to Jesus.

Morris & Co. Sir Edward Burne-Jones "Adoration of the Magi" Tapestry 1888/1894

Morris & Co.
Sir Edward Burne-Jones
“Adoration of the Magi”
Tapestry
1888/1894

William Morris is known for his flowers and patterns. You can see the influence of his other work in this tapestry, which you can also see, although not as prevalent outside of the cloth patterns, in the Burne-Jones painting of his original design below.

Sir Edward Burne-Jones "The Star of Bethlehem" 1890

Sir Edward Burne-Jones
“The Star of Bethlehem”
1890

Antoni Gaudi "Sagrada Familia" Unfinished (Began in 1882) - Gaudi was hit by a car and killed before this work could be completed Barcelona

Antoni Gaudi
“Sagrada Familia”
Unfinished (Began in 1882)

Gaudi was hit by a car and killed before this work could be completed
Barcelona.

Gaudi Nativity of Sagrada Familia

Gaudi
Nativity of Sagrada Familia

Gaudi Sagrada Familia Holy Family Detail

Gaudi
Sagrada Familia
Holy Family Detail

Gaudi Sagrada Familia Angels Detail

Gaudi
Sagrada Familia
Angels Detail

Paul Gauguin "Nativity" 1896

Paul Gauguin
“Nativity”
1896

Gauguin’s painting is different because Mary and Jesus are isolated, there are no admirers except for the one angel. This is also the first painting where Mary looks concerned, as if she knows what difficulty lies ahead of her son, or if she is concerned about being a mother. It is a more human version of Mary.

Marc Chagall "Nativity" 1950 This one is particularly interesting as Chagall is a Jewish artist and he includes the crucifixion in with the nativity

Marc Chagall
“Nativity”
1950

This one is particularly interesting as Chagall is a Jewish artist and he includes the crucifixion in with the nativity.

Clementine Hunter "Nativity with Virgin Mary, Three Wise Men and Angels"  1940s Clementine Hunter was a Louisiana self-taught folk artist. She lived and worked on Melrose Plantation where she met the artists that worked there in the 30s and 40s, including William Spratling and Lyle Saxon. She didn't start painting until she was in her 60s. One great thing about Hunter's depiction is that all the characters involved are African-American which showed her connecting with the story by making them reflect her and her community.

Clementine Hunter
“Nativity with Virgin Mary, Three Wise Men and Angels”
1940-1960

Clementine Hunter was a Louisiana self-taught folk artist. She lived and worked on Melrose Plantation where she met the artists that worked there in the 30s and 40s, including William Spratling and Lyle Saxon. She didn’t start painting until she was in her 60s. One great thing about Hunter’s depiction is that all the characters involved are African-American which showed her connecting with the story by making them reflect her and her community.

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