Wednesday, 7 December 2016

Wednesday 7th December - The Virgin with Angels

Once I get my daughter's birthday out of the way I'm suddenly confronted by CHRISTMAS which looms onto the horizon and reminds me of the presents I haven't made yet.  Yikes.  On with Angelvent!

The Virgin with Angels (1900) William Adolphe Bouguereau
Were you feeling decidedly under-angel-ed?  Were you feeling a lack of agels in your life? Well, I have a bucketload of them here (official unit of measurement), all over the shop.  The place is stuffed with angels, you can't swing a holy child without hitting one.  In fact, Mary's looking a bit nervous, holding Jesus a bit awkwardly as if she's worried she's running out of room.  Mind you, that's what happens when you have a baby, everyone turns up and your house feels really small.  And that's people without wings.  Factor in the wings and that is a packed party.

Virgin of the Angels (1881)
I quite like a Bouguereau nativity scene.  His whites have been through the special wash and come out sparkling and the stable never looks outrageously shabby.  It's a nice Waitrose nativity, if you know what I mean. The angels in this one have turned up as a musical threepiece - one on a violin, one on a little lute-y thing and the third one on a kazoo (just out of shot).  I find the solidness of the angels and their big swan wings in the 1881 painting rather more appealing than the angelfest of his later work.  Part of what I love about the nativity is the utterly bonkers nature of the string of events that happen to this couple, who are really very ordinary. 

The Madonna of the Roses (1903)
Before everyone turned up, it was so nice and quiet...
They are both young, she's pregnant, there's a fairly comfortable donkey to ride but on the whole that isn't a great journey to be making in the nineth month of pregnancy.  Then there are no hotels, but there is a shed, which you have to give birth in.  Then some shepherds turn up which isn't too odd but some angels told them to do it.  Then some more angels turn up, then some blokes on camels in turbans turn up. Everyone wants to see the baby, and its non-stop.  Mary sits there in both pictures with an expresion of 'Ah well, that's life isn't it?' and whatever religion you are (or none), that's not a bad way of facing life at this time of year.  Sometimes Christmas can be somewhat overwhelming, noisy, uncomfortable, annoying and filled with people who you secretly wish would sod off home again now. For the good of all mankind, put on a brave face and get on with it. 

Also, you get something pretty damn special out of it:  Mary got Jesus, I'm getting a new blade for my Kenwood Food Processor.  Yes, I know, he was the Son of God, however can he slice brussel sprouts so finely that they caramelise? 

See you tomorrow...

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Many thanks for your comment. I shall post it up shortly! Kx