Friday, December 17, 2010

The Nativity

 (click to enlarge)
Edward Burne-Jones
(British, 1833-1898)
The Nativity, 1888
Oil on canvas
Called The Nativity, its true subject is the redemption of mankind through cycles of birth, death, and rebirth exemplified by the life of Christ. The somber mood of the scene results not only from muted coloring and static figures, but also from many symbols of death: the crown of thorns, chalice, and urn; the shroudlike garments; and the draping of the manger reminiscent of a bier. The Latin inscription refers to the Resurrection: Because of the misery of the poor and the groaning of the needy, now will I arise, saith the Lord. As in the unusual iconography of The King and the Shepherd, nearby, this inscription is a subtle allusion to the social miseries of Victorian Britain. 
from the website of the Carnegie Museum of Art


  1. Absolutely positively amazing and beautiful. Perhaps my favorite painting of the nativity ever now.

  2. simply stunning. I am familiar, and already fond of, his painting The Star of Bethlehem depicting the visit of the Magi, and the monochromatic (in blue) Nativity painting...but this is so different! I love how it shows the intimate, inherent connection between the Incarnation and the Passion. :) I love the explanation. How wonderful indeed. Thank you so much for sharing!

  3. And I was worried this painting wouldn't be liked because of how somber it is! I'm so glad you all like it as much as I do. :)