May 23, 2011

Botticelli and the Nativity

Since I am on a well deserved vacation, my posts will probably be short, but I'll continue exploring art work on the subject of our Blessed Lady. While not specifically focused on Mary, we cannot ignore the images of the nativity. We are so used to seeing the sometimes overly sentimental images we see on Christmas cards that we overlook some of the great paintings that have been created throughout the centuries. The above painting of the birth of Jesus is titled "Mystical Nativity" and was painted by Sandro Botticelli in 1500.  It is full of symbolism, and while it is a depiction of the birth of Jesus it also contains images from Revelation and the second coming. It also contains iconic elements.  

Botticelli was a Florentine artist of the early Renaissance and his work certainly influences some of the great Renaissance artists.  He also painted several images of the "Adoration of the Magi," such as the one above. While he created many religious paintings he is probably most known for his paintings done for villa of Lorenzo de Medici, "The Birth of Venus" and "Primavera" which show his fascination with the Greek mythology.

Just as with many Renaissance artists, Mary was a favorite subject. This painting, "Madonna and Child with Six Saints," is in the Uffizi Gallery in Florence.  From left to right the saints are Mary Magdelene, John the Baptist, Cosmos and Damian, St. Francis and Catherine of Alexandria.

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