Thursday, 21 December 2017

Thursday 21st December: Holy Night

Today is the shortest day of the year in terms of actual daylight, but as I don't have to go to work today I will be spending most of it in my fox pajamas under a duvet, probably knitting.  As it is currently as black as pitch outside, that course of action seems the most sensible, but in the meantime, here is today's picture...

Holy Night Hugo Havenith
This is a very sweet depiction of the Away-in-a-Manger moment of the Christmas story, with a glowing baby Jesus being coo-ed over by his Mum and some little cherubic kiddiwinks.  I wonder if they are supposed to be little angels?  Or does it show 'the little children' going to see Jesus because little kiddiwinks are meant to be able to be able to see the wonders of the Holy Spirit and all that jazz?  Either way, I hope they stay quiet because Mary's only just got him to sleep...

In the Manger
This variation makes it a little clearer as the kiddiwink nearest us has a pair of wings.  They are definitely little baby angels with thin golden halos and gossamer floating behind them as they peek at the holy glowing baby.

Madonna
Now this is getting a little ridiculous.  I'm sure Hugo Havenith (1853-1925) did other pictures but he seemed to return to the image of Mary at the manger a few times, probably because it sold well, or maybe because he was never satisfied with how he portrayed it.  Having a good Christmas image in your collection might have been like releasing a good Christmas song - at least it's popular once a year.  I suspect that my curator-husband, Mr Walker, has image envy if he see another museum with a corking Christmas scene as that can be slapped on a Christmas card and sold, thus earning its keep.  Presumably a nice romantic picture is also good (Valentines Day), a good wedding scene and baby picture likewise.  If only museums in the past had devised their collecting policies around what would look good on a tote bag...

The Cellist
Despite being born in London, Hugo Havenith spent his life in Germany, studying and living in Munich.  His sisters also married painters as did his mother, for her second marriage.  There's a family that enjoy the smell of turps....

An Attentive Audience
Not a great deal seems to be available for Havenith, but possibly Munich has more information in the Neue Pinakothek.  Despite his manger fetish, his work is charming and I really like his Cellist.  This is a short post for the shortest day but hopefully the sun will come up soon.  Stay warm m'dears and I'll see you tomorrow...


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