Art that comforts
Vatican News

Vatican Museums: Come, let us worship #7

“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.

Domenico Bigordi, called the Ghirlandaio (Florence 1449-1494), and workshop – once attributed to Mainardi, Sebastiano (San Gimignano ca.1450 – Florence 1513); Christmas; altar-step compartment; ca. 1492; tempera on poplar, gilding © Musei Vaticani

In this precious tablet, Christmas is reduced to its main characters. Missing are the grotto, the donkey, the bull, and the shepherds, which usually grace the scene of the birth of Christ according to the Gospel of Luke, along with several elements from apocryphal texts. The surroundings are simplified to the bare minimum: one area represents the earth, while heaven is represented by a celestial cloud illuminated by a large star on which a choir of angels sing. Realistic depictions of Joseph, Mary, and the Child Jesus stand out on a gold background.

© Musei Vaticani
© Musei Vaticani

“The grace which was revealed in our world is Jesus, born of the Virgin Mary, true man and true God. He has entered our history; He has shared our journey. He came to free us from darkness and to grant us light. In Him was revealed the grace, the mercy, and the tender love of the Father: Jesus is Love incarnate.”

(Pope Francis –Christmas Mass at Night 2013)

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