Sunday, December 25, 2022

The Madonna of the Stars

 The attribution of this painting by Washington DC’s National Gallery of Art is listed as "Jacopo Tintoretto and Workshop." They can't be absolutely sure that he painted it. The hands, in particular, don't quite pass muster. In the late 1500s, artists often had many assistants working and learning, with the master, who painted the faces and sometimes the hands. In his day, Tintoretto was criticized for his speedy, less finished brush strokes. I love the unpolished look of the clouds and stars and the yellow background instead of an expensive blue sky. Mostly, I love that Jesus and Mary look like real people. Contemporary accounts describe Tintoretto as a family man who gave much of his earnings to the poor, the kind of man who would paint such an empathetic portrait of a mother and child.

Sunday, December 18, 2022

For Sale: Assorted Animals and Manger-Seekers

 Jumbled on a the table at a flea market was a conglomeration of Nativity figures in various sizes and conditions. Made from plaster of paris or low-fired clay, Woolworths sold them for generations.  Families could slowly accumulate three kings or spring for a camel with a fancy saddle. Children might have just enough pocket money for a little lamb. Like most kids, I could not resist playing with them--carefully--risking chips or broken sheep legs. How did the members of this holy crew become separated from their fellow worshipers? I hope that each of them finds a new home, even the cow with broken horns.

Sunday, December 11, 2022

Great Big Helper

 Giant skeletons have been all the rage among those who love to decorate their yards for Halloween. Why put away the skeleton when October turns to November ?Those who love a good outdoor Christmas display are already checking their strands of lights and figuring out a plan by mid-November. So why not incorporate Mister Bones into the decorating scheme? If only we all had a helper who could reach the roof line without a ladder...

Sunday, December 4, 2022

Sunset Lane

 I was out for a late-day walk when the edges of clouds began to turn pinkish, then lavender. It was so beautifully entertaining that I just stood and watched as the colors changed and streaks formed just above the horizon. The sky began to dim so I headed home. At the bottom of the lane, something made me stop and look back. Filtered through the lace of the bare trees was one last brilliant firestorm of oranges and pinks. A dull gray and brown day came to a colorful close.