Thursday, July 23, 2009

The Scene In Which The Baby Jesus Is Everywhere

In Spain and Italy, particularly in Italy, there is quite a bit of religious art.

More specifically, there is quite a bit of art centered around Jesus.

Even more specifically, there is quite a bit of art centered around the Baby Jesus.

The Baby Jesus is, in fact, everywhere.

And occasionally, he is a ginger.

That's right, all you "Jesus is white, brunette and a chubby cherub" folks- Jesus was, in at least three paintings, a flaming redhead looking for all intents and purposes like he's about to pull the tail of the kitty sitting near him, just outside the frame. There's also several remarkable paintings of him holding a bird, which wouldn't be creepy in the least until you realize the bird looks kind of dead.

He's tall. He's short. He's chubby. He's skinny. He's sitting. He's standing. He's smiling. He's frowning. He's sleeping. He's yawning. He's cute. He's creepy.

Beyond the paintings of Jesus with the obvious choice of Mary, it was also apparently quite fashionable to have your own portrait painted with the Baby Jesus, or to have someone else painted into a group scene as a gift.

He's with Mary. He's with Joseph. He's with the Holy Family. He's with the Brown Cow and the Gray Donkey. He's with Saint Anne. He's with the Angels. He's with the Saints. He's with the Martyrs. He's with Saint George. He's with Saint Peter. He's with Saint Paul. He's with Mark the Abbot of Some Unknown Church in Florence. He's with Paul the Descendant of Mark the Abbot of Some Unknown Church in Florence. He's with The Neighbor Who Invited You to that Ball Last Summer. He's with the Holy Mother of the Abbess of the Order of the Flowers of the Forest. He's with the King. He's with the Queen. He's with the Royal Children. He's with the Guy Who Should Have Been King but got Killed Instead. He's with the Deacon of the Priory. He's with the Prior. He's with Larry, the guy who comes to the stables to feed the Brown Cow and the Gray Donkey.

Those more religious than I will argue that these paintings represent the intangible "He is EVERYWHERE" argument, and I have to say that I agree with them on this point, because the Baby Jesus is quite possibly the most-painted subject ever.

In fact, if the Baby Jesus were living among us today, I daresay he'd be more sought after than Angelina Jolie and Brad Pitt's kids - that is, if they didn't just adopt him themselves.

I just don't buy that he was a ginger.

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