Thursday, December 24, 2009
Merry Christmas to the readers of Van Gogh's Chair!
Van Gogh never painted any pictures of baby Jesus, so to mark the holiday I've chosen my hands-down-favorite Renaissance Madonna & Child image, the gorgeous "Madonna of the Magnificat" by Sandro Botticelli (1480-81, click to enlarge, image from the Web Gallery of Art). Here Mary is Queen of Heaven, quill in hand, writing the verses of the passage of the Gospel of Luke known as the Magnificat. Mary as writer, I love it!
This painting resides today in the Uffizi Gallery in Florence, in the Botticelli room together with the more famous "Birth of Venus" and "Primavera" (among others). I first visited the Uffizi in 1996, and I remember being pulled up short by the "Madonna of the Magnificat" while beelining toward "Birth of Venus." Nobody, but nobody, paints angels like Botticelli in my opinion, and Mary's face is the ultimate in beautiful serenity. Naturally I bought a postcard in the Uffizi giftshop to remember the afternoon, and Mary the authoress watches over me from the bulletin board in my university office.
Happy Holidays to all & many blessings for 2010!
ps. Speaking of Botticelli...I've just finished reading Ilaria Dagnini Brey's nonfiction "The Venus Fixers: The Remarkable Story of the Allied Soldiers Who Saved Italy's Art During World War II." Fantastico! Review to come after Christmas.