Christ is born!
Merry Christmas on this fifth day of the Nativity. May the Holy Innocents be ever remembered! Even adjusting for the calendar discrepancy, I have no idea why the memorial is observed on different days in the West (December 28) and in the East (December 29). Moreover, Wikipedia notes that the Syriac Orthodox Church, the Syro-Malankara Catholic Church, and Maronite Church commemorate the Innocents on December 27. Like the feast of Saint Catherine or of the Conception of the Theotokos, the date varies by a day or two.
Significantly more cheerful than slain boys is the fine art of remaking fine art. Booooooom is currently showcasing submissions that you may enjoy. Some are silly and boringly transgressive, while others are striking and impressive in their fidelity to the original, in their creative departures, and in their own manifestations of beauty. There are currently seven pages of remakes, but the number appears to continue to increase. Here are the current links:
Remake Submissions / Part I
Remake Submissions / Part II
Remake Submissions / Part III
Remake Submissions / Part IV
Remake Submissions / Part V
Remake Submissions / Part VI
Remake Submissions / Part VII
I liked the following the most:
Le Désespéré remake by Stefano Telloni (currently in Part I)—perfect.
Pot Pourri remake by Tania Brassesco and Lazlo Passi Norberto (I)—lovely.
The Beaneater remake by Mark Bass (I)—a young Matt Drudge strikes a remake pose.
Portrait of the Actress Jeanne Samary remake by Marianna Oboeva (I)—she is there.
Grande Odalisque remake by Patrick Richmond Nicholas (I)—the Ingresque meets the Delacroixian.
Bedroom in Arles remake by Joshua Louis Simon (I)—impressive copy.
Supper at Emmaus remake by Jeff Hazelden (I)—nice lighting
Nighthawks remake by Bastian Vice (I)—it captures the vibe.
David and Goliath remake by Miguel Iturbe (II)—beautifully morbid.
Self Portrait 1889 remake by Seth Johnson (II)—the Meryl Streep of art remakes.
Girl reading a letter by an open window remake by Wanda Martin (III)—lovely, but a sad reminder of a lost art.
Man in a red turban remake by Ryan Halliwill (III)—I love the color and the light.
The Girl With The Pearl Earring remake by Sarah McCollum (III)—I love this series, but this one gets a nod for its humanity.
The Girl With The Pearl Earring remake by Sybille de Chavagnac (III)—But this one wins; it startles me . . . gorgeous remake.
Narcissus remake by Marco Serina (III)—most of the nude reinterpretations are often silly, but this one works beautifully.
Narcissus remake by Shmu James Levine (III)—excellent reflection.
Narcissus remake by Max Zerrahn (III)—quite faithful.
The Incredulity of Saint Thomas remake by Cope Amezcua (IV)—lovely with good lighting.
Dance remake by Samantha Madonik (IV)—it conveys the pagan energy superbly.
The Death of Marat remake by Christian Strevy (V)—striking . . . bravo!
The Infanta Margarita of Austria remake by Jessica Rossi—props for comedic value.
Violon d’Ingres remake by Lujian Zeta Zee (VI)—excellent.
Arachne remake by Eugenia Blanc (VI)—I love the light upon the skin . . . beautiful.
Madame X remake by Emily Kiyomi (VI)—it captures the spirit of the original well.
St. Rose of Lima remake by Genevieve Blais (VI)—uncanny approximation of that sort of pious art.
St. Francis in Ecstasy remake by Nicola Bailey (VI)—I am not usually a fan of the ironic, but I love the phone.
Boy with a basket of fruit remake by Guido Ricci (VI)—impressive.
Marta e Maddalena remake by Guido Ricci (VI)—most impressive.
San Giovanni Battista remake by Massimiliano Vermi (VI)—kudos, but perhaps less pulchritude and more gravity is appropriate for the subject matter . . . and the croton is too much.
Self-Portrait 1629 remake by Matt Martens (VII)—not bad.
New York City, 1956 remake by Kelly Culhane—not a good copy, but still an evocative photograph.
Loie Fuller in La danse blanche remake by Charlotte Doran Davies (VII)—beautiful.
Portrait of Leonora Carrington remake by Srge Miranda—I love the woman’s intensity.
Young Woman Escaping remake by Alma and Ed (VII)—very fun.
Salon des Cent 1896 remake by Charlotte Davies (VII)—it keeps the sensuality, but it lacks the ethereal quality of the original.
Le Baiser remake by Sybille de Chavagnac (VII)—ambitious.
Two Cherubs remake by Bri Hammond—somewhat sacrilegious, but charming.
Starry Night over the Rhone remake by Breno Rodrigues (VII)—clever.
Portrait of a Lady remake by Sara Huneke (VII)—another excellent presentation of personality.
If it is not apparent, I am a sucker for lighting. One of my favorite paintings is Georges de la Tour’s The Repentant Magdalen. Online pictures do not do it justice, as is always the case. Make sure to see it if you are ever at the National Gallery of Art.
Christ is born!
Here is the Russian Cathedral Choir of Paris singing the kontakion for the feast of the Nativity:
Here are the troparion and some other hymns specific to the feast by an unknown choir:
Monachos has the texts for various hymns.
Troparion of the Nativity:
Thy Nativity, O Christ our God,
Hath shone upon the world the light of knowledge;
For thereby, they that worshipped the stars
Were taught by a star
To worship Thee, the Sun of Righteousness,
And to know Thee, the Dayspring from on high.
O Lord, glory be to Thee!
Kontakion of the Nativity:
Today the Virgin giveth birth
To Him who is above all being,
And the earth offereth a cave
To Him whom no man can approach.
Angels with shepherds give glory,
And magi journey with a star.
For our sake is born a young Child,
The Pre-eternal God!
I would like to wish everyone who follows the old calendar a lovely Christmas Eve today and a very merry Christmas tomorrow.
For those on the new calendar, may you have a blessed Epiphany today.
It is fitting to offer something mirthful on the feast, but I give you rather something sadly humorous. Last week, I found Eric Metaxas’ “Does Anyone in the Media Ever Read the Bible?” on Fox News. Metaxas recounts various episodes of shocking biblical illiteracy, including a remarkable example from George Whitman’s obituary in The New York Times:
“[George] welcomed visitors with large-print messages on the walls. ‘Be not inhospitable to strangers, lest they be angels in disguise,’ was one, quoting Yeats.”
Yeats!? Did you catch that? I choked on my toast. Did the Times actually just say that “Be not inhospitable to strangers, lest they be angels in disguise” was from Yeats? Unless I had fallen down a rabbit hole, that quote was from the Bible. It’s from Hebrews 13:2 and it’s quite famous. If you didn’t catch it, don’t feel too badly, because you are probably not The New York Times. You are probably not America’s “paper of record”, proud owner of 106 Pulitzer Prizes in Journalism—more than any other newspaper. You probably don’t have squadrons of fact-checkers on your payroll.
I still couldn’t believe what I’d just read, so I kept reading, looking for some explanation. There was none. I then shook the paper to make sure I was reading an actual newspaper, and not, say, an email forward from an aged friend. Nope. This really was the New York Times, the Old Grey Lady, whose motto was “All the News that’s Fit to Print.” And let’s face it, if W.B. Yeats was the real author of the Bible’s “Book of Hebrews,” that really would be big news!
I often express to family and friends how surprised I am by widespread scriptural ignorance, especially in the young. Even Protestant youngsters are clueless. It is no wonder that apostasy is so rampant. Christian parents are failing miserably to raise their children in the faith.
The world is going to hell in a handbasket, but let me rescue this post from too much despair—or at least philistine despair. To tie together the feasts celebrated today, East and West, with the hallowed inspiration of the Irish Bard, here is “The Magi”:
Now as at all times I can see in the mind’s eye,
In their stiff, painted clothes, the pale unsatisfied ones
Appear and disappear in the blue depth of the sky
With all their ancient faces like rain-beaten stones,
And all their helms of silver hovering side by side,
And all their eyes still fixed, hoping to find once more,
Being by Calvary’s turbulence unsatisfied,
The uncontrollable mystery on the bestial floor.
To mix further the sacred and the profane, I wonder if Yeats’ poem was one of the inspirations for U2’s “I Still Haven’t Found What I’m Looking For.”
In any case, merry Christmas! Christ is born!