Art that comforts
Vatican News

Vatican Museums: Come, let us worship #10

“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.

Bernardino di Mariotto dello Stagno, Adoration of the Magi, end 15th cent. – first half 16th cent., tempera on poplar, Vatican Art Gallery © Musei Vaticani

This scene depicting the Adoration of the Magi is reduced to its primary participants: the Virgin holding the Child Jesus and the Magi. The event takes place outside, with a hill and the sea in the background. The three magi represent life’s three ages. The oldest kneels before the Child who holds his gift, according to an iconography in use since the 12th century. The three wise men have neither crowns nor halos, and are dressed according to the fashion of the day. They likely depict the men who commissioned the painting.

© Musei Vaticani
© Musei Vaticani

“Anyone wishing to enter the place of Jesus’ birth has to bend down. It seems to me that a deeper truth is revealed here, which should touch our hearts on this holy night: if we want to find the God who appeared as a child, then we must dismount from the high horse of our “enlightened” reason. We must set aside our false certainties, our intellectual pride, which prevents us from recognizing God’s closeness.”

(Pope Benedict XVI – Christmas 2011 – Mass at Night)

Under the direction of Paolo Ondarza
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06 January 2021, 09:00