Thursday, December 18, 2008

Greeting Cards

It's the season to receive an influx of Chrismas cards. Many of those with religous art images will be reproductions of Renaissance paintings. Paintings from this time period were produced for churches, for the home, or for people to travel with and show others to inspire or help others contemplate a scene in hopes that they would draw closer to the meaning of the life of Christ. The symbolism is extensive in these paintings. A wonderful article is found here if you'd like to learn more about decoding specific symbols such as why Joseph is often portrayed as an old man, why we don't see more paintings that include a cave, and what the order of the wisemen and how they are standing might mean. I love the idea of the Renaissance notion that the art can be a teaching tool or open the door for conversation with a friend. This isn't so foreign an idea for us today. We sometimes just need reminders that there is a vast amount of people that respond to the visual. Enjoy your Christmas cards and consider setting them in obviously places for others to see or saving the artwork to use at a later "teachable moment".


RevAnne said...

While I avoid the terms "venerate" and "icon" in the same sentence, I use some of the art from Christmas and other cards as a meditation aid. Someday I'll gather them all in to a notebook or something, although that seems kind of sterile. Maybe if I make a book for them it will feel a little more organic.
Oh, I think I might have a project ahead!

Carrot Top Studio: said...

Your cards in one of your beautiful handmade journals would be lovely. I've framed a few special cards that have been received over the years and they are one of my favorite things to pull out during Advent.