Friday, 22 December 2017

Friday 22nd December: The Virgin with a Kiss

I can't say I'm looking forward to today's tasks.  I have to do the food shopping which is always a scrum but as I am a vegetarian it will involve a lot of unChristian hair-pulling over a red cabbage.  I will try and control my rage, I promise.  In the meantime, here is today's painting...

The Virgin with a Kiss (1919) Maurice Denis
I really like this one, not only for the gorgeous colours but also the title.  It reminds me that possibly I shouldn't be hobbling anyone over brussels sprouts, I should be spreading peace and love because that is somewhat more in keeping with the season.  As I am preparing to head-lock some bloke over the last jar of redcurrant jelly I should think of this lovely Mary and her happy little Jesus in their pretty garden of flowers.  Such glorious colours!  Ah, that's better...

The Annunciation Under the Arch with Lilies (1913)
At the age of 15, Maurice Denis wrote in his journal 'I have to be a Christian painter and celebrate all the miracles of Christianity, I feel it has to be so.' Flipping teenagers.  However he did hold true and produced some beautiful Biblical images including The Annunciation Under the Arch with Lilies which is a wonderful indoor annunciation in dappled colours.  He also did this very positive number...

The Annunciation (1913)
This is quite a rare annunciation (and heaven knows we have seen quite a few this month) - for once the angel is not intimidating and is actually kneeling in front of Mary who looks well chuffed with the whole situation.  Well, that's just splendid and its nice to see Mary get a bit of respect in the whole matter rather than having her heavenly duty thrust upon her whether she likes it or not.

Madonna of the Blooming Garden
Denis goes even further than most artists in his association of the Madonna with flowers.  There aren't just lilies in his images, often entire gardens such as Madonna of the Blooming Garden and The Madonna of the Eternal Spring (1908).  For Denis, the Virgin Mary is all about flowers and kissing babies and I'm okay with all of that.

Self Portrait (1916)
He was a busy chap, Maurice Denis (1870-1943).  He provided a bridge between Impressionism and modern art, associated with the art movement Les Nabis and the Symbolists, and founded a workshop of religious arts.  He designed murals and stained glass and through his workshop designed art for churches, which was an important part of his work from the First World War all the way to his death during the Second.  He wrote extensively about art, both publicly and privately and I find his writing very interesting, for example 'Remember that a picture, before being a battle horse, a female nude or some sort of anecdote, is essentially a flat surface covered with colors assembled in a certain order.' (Art et Critique August 1890).  You can't argue with that. Maurice Denis seems an eminently sensible chap and he is welcome to come round mine for Christmas dinner, just as soon as I have wrestled it out of the hands of someone in Sainsburys.

See you tomorrow...

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