Liberal Arts Blog — Three Nativity Scenes: Giorgione (1475–1510), Botticelli (1445–1510), Geerten Tot Sint Jans (1465–1495)
Liberal Arts Blog — Friday is the Joy of Art, Architecture, Design, Film, and All Things Visual Day
Today’s Topic: Three Nativity Scenes: Giorgione (1475–1510), Botticelli (1445–1510), Geerten Tot Sint Jans (1465–1495)
Do you have favorite take on the birth of Jesus? This morning I decided to poke around the web in search of the most interesting nativity scenes in the history of Western art. Today, three highlights from the search. Three big points: 1.) In European Renaissance Art, the baby Jesus is often tiny, naked, and hard to find, 2.) as a parent, the fact that new born isn’t swaddled is very disturbing. The adults are often all wearing very warm clothing.
This suggests that it’s cold outside. 3.) this looks like flagrant child abuse to me.
Experts — please chime in. Correct, elaborate, elucidate.
GIORGIONE (c1475–1510) — ADORATION OF THE SHEPHERDS (1510)
1. Giorgione means “Big George.” Little is known about him other than he died of the plague in 1510 while still in his thirties.
2. A student of Giovanni Bellini (1430–1516), Giorgione is considered to be one of the founders (along with Titian) of the Venetian school of Renaissance painters.
3. “Only about six surviving paintings are firmly attributed to him.” And the painter is considered “one of the most mysterious figures in European art.”
NB: Other paintings by Giorgione include Judith (Hermitage, Saint Petersburg), The Three Philosophers (Kunsthistorisches Museum, Vienna), and The Tempest (Gallerie dell ‘Academia, Venice).
SANDRO BOTTICELLI (1445–1510) “THE ADORATION OF THE MAGI”(1475)
1. Painter seems less concerned with Jesus than with sucking up to his patrons, the Medicis.
2. Reminds of the big letters etched into the stone lintel above the entrance to the Vatican announcing that you are about to enter the “Borgia’s House.”
3. Not that patronizing the arts is a bad thing or anything like that.
NB: Cosimo Medici is kneeling in front of the Virgin, his son Piero is front and center in the red mantle. His brother Giovanni to his right is the third wise man. Sandro, not known for his humility, has placed himself in the lower right corner looking boldly straight at the viewer.
GEERTEN tot SINT JANS (1465–1495) , “NATIVITY AT NIGHT,” (1490)
1. Note that the angel floating in the night sky is announcing the news of Christ’s birth to some shepherds on a hill. This is somewhat hard to see.
2. How can a parent not be horrified to see this poor naked baby without a blanket? Pick the kid up and cuddle him or wrap him up nice and warm. Please.
3. The answer appears to be that consistent with the visions of Saint Bridget of Sweden (1300–1373), the divine child was warmed by an inner divine heat and ran no risk of hypothermia.
THE LAST FOUR YEARS OF POSTS ORGANIZED THEMATICALLY ARE AVAILABLE HERE:
Please share the coolest thing you learned recently or ever related to art, sculpture, design, architecture, film, or anything visual.
This is your chance to make some one else’s day. And to cement in your own memory something cool or important you might otherwise forget. Or to think more deeply than you otherwise would about something that is close to your heart.