Art that comforts
Vatican News

Vatican Museums: Come, let us worship #5

“The depiction of Jesus’ birth is itself a simple and joyful proclamation of the mystery of the Incarnation of the Son of God.” These words of Pope Francis recall how the birth of Jesus has inspired generations of artists throughout history to evangelize through beauty. Every week the Vatican Museums and Vatican News offer a masterpiece from the pontifical collections, which are accompanied with a reflection from the Popes.

Bartolomeo of Tommaso, called Bartolomeo from Foligno (1400 ca. before 1454); Tryptic of the Incoronation of the Virgin, the Nativity, and the Adoration of the Magi (known as the ‘Rospigliosi Tryptic’); tempera on poplar; 1445 ca.; Vatican Art Gallery © Musei Vaticani

The iconography of this scene, one part of a large tryptic, is not exactly that of the Nativity. The main episode is that of the Washing of the Child Jesus, which is not described in the New Testament. It was spread mainly through the Golden Legend of Jacob from Varazze, and based on the apocryphal gospels. In the foreground, two women bathe the Child in a tub, as the Virgin Mary lies on straw, covered with a sheet, and Saint Joseph sits nearby in meditation.

© Musei Vaticani
© Musei Vaticani

“May you know today how to lovingly cuddle your children. May you know today how to associate with a little extra charity for the poor, the suffering, the derelict, the young, in a word, and you will have a sincere Christmas, a regenerating Christmas, a happy Christmas.”

(Pope St. Paul VI – Christmas homily 1964)

Under the direction of Paolo Ondarza
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25 December 2020, 09:00