• Mary, was engaged to Joseph, before they came together, she was found pregnant by the Holy Spirit. When he thought about these things an angel appeared in a dream, saying, "Joseph, don't be afraid to take to yourself Mary, your wife, for that which is conceived in her is of the Holy Spirit."
  • "This is the sign to you: you will find a baby wrapped in swaddling clothes lying in a manger." (Luke 2:12)
  • The back-drop for the manger is a dark cave. The dark cave and the swaddling clothes remind Christians of the cave in which Jesus was buried 33 years later, wrapped in a shroud
  • the ox knows his Owner, and the ass his Master's crib, but Israel does not know Me, and the people have not regarded Me (Isaiah 1:3).
  • ...wise men from the east came to Jerusalem, saying "Where is he who is born King of the Jews? For we saw his star in the east, and have come to worship him."
    ...They came into the house and saw the young child with Mary, his mother, and they fell down and worshiped him. (Matthew 2:1-11)
  • . . . Opening their treasures, they offered to him gifts: gold, frankincense, and myrrh. (Matthew 2:11)
  • Being warned in a dream that they shouldn't return to Herod, they went back to their own country another way (Matthew 2:12)
  • In the Nativity icon, Satan is disguised as an elderly man encouraging St Joseph to doubt (it's interesting to note that this figure's identity has changed over the ages as he was once merely an old shepherd)
  • "Behold, the virgin shall be with child, And shall bring forth a son. They shall call his name Immanuel;" Which is, being interpreted, "God with us." (Matthew 1:23)
  • There were shepherds in the same country staying in the field, and keeping watch by night over their flock. (Luke 2:8)
  • Suddenly, there was with the angel a multitude of the heavenly host praising God, and saying,

    "Glory to God in the highest, On earth peace, good will toward men."
    (Luke 2:13-14)
  • Wisemen detail
  • Lamb detail
  • Star of Bethlehem by Michael Molnar

Christmas 2003: The Nativity

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The Nativity of Our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ icon design attributed to Andrei Rublev

Christmas 2003, egg tempera (8" X 10.5")

You are welcome to download the cartoon for this icon.

Icons were used as teaching tools. Most of the notes placed on this icon are biblical quotes or paraphrasing.

(This was my first egg tempera and I fell in love with the medium when I saw the ultramarine. Maybe I should have toned it down, but the intensity of egg tempera colors amazes me.)

I've compiled a chronological collection of some Nativity of Jesus works of art into three timeframes:

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Please note, in response to flickr's Third-party image blocking I've moved my illustrated research notes to my blog, duckmarx: The Nativity
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1. 100-1499

2. 1500-1699

3. 1700-present

How old is the Nativity icon design?The Patriarch of Alexandria, Cyril I (404-430 A.D.), authorized the use of icons as a visual means for teaching Christian doctrines. I think one of these was the Nativity icon. If this is so it would mean that the Nativity icon design extends back to at least the 5th century (404-430). In her article Origins of Nativity Scenes for Christmas, Christine Nyholm reports that "Some scholars believe that the earliest Nativity scene dates back to 2nd century AD in the catacombs of St. Priscilla." Both my conjecture and Christine Nyholm's conjecture require independent validation.

ryrus, Aubrey Collins, KIDDULT~, and 13 other people added this photo to their favorites.

View 11 more comments

  1. Evor 89 months ago | reply

    wow excellent

  2. DUCKMARX 88 months ago | reply

    teda, Ron, Tayla, Evor - thank you for your comments.

    nukesimi, thanks for you fave and comment. Hoepfully the 3381 X 3381 is large enough to let you see the details

    Matej and Sasha, thank you for the faves.

  3. Kevissimo 78 months ago | reply

    Wow....incredibly impressive. egg tempra....that puts you in quite the rarefied group...

    This is lovely.....

  4. DUCKMARX 78 months ago | reply

    Thanks Kevin. I am glad that you like the Nativity.

  5. oar_square 77 months ago | reply

    your work is fabulous........

  6. DUCKMARX 77 months ago | reply

    oar_square, thanks.

  7. DUCKMARX 65 months ago | reply

    I also came across a terrific art resource:
    World Art Treasures (Jacques-Edouard Berger Foundation)

    Here are links to the written word about the Nativity of Christ:

    Luke 2:1-38 KJV

    Matthew 2:1-23 KJV



    The Nativity Story
    by Angela Elwell Hunt, Mike Rich

    . . . and finally, Crèche sets from around the world

  8. rehuxley 65 months ago | reply

    Awesome! Thanks for posting this classical art. It revives my spirit.

  9. DUCKMARX 65 months ago | reply

    ron, I agree. These works humble and inspire me.

  10. DUCKMARX 65 months ago | reply

    I am tickled to see Jon Cock use my work as an illustration on his 2008 Christmas blog

  11. Nuqe [deleted] 65 months ago | reply

    Ha! How did you learn his name? Over 4000 profile hits...that's some serious Blogger recognition.

  12. Ray . 55 months ago | reply

    spectacular! wonderful work! exceptional compilation of nativity treasures!

  13. DUCKMARX 55 months ago | reply

    Ray, thanks.

  14. TheRevSteve 54 months ago | reply

    Hi, I'm an admin for a group called The Epiphany, and we'd love to have this added to the group!

  15. onefamousdog 53 months ago | reply

    Hi, I'm an admin for a group called god love, and we'd love to have this added to the group!

  16. onefamousdog 53 months ago | reply

    Hi, I'm an admin for a group called a new world, and we'd love to have this added to the group!

  17. onefamousdog 53 months ago | reply

    Hi, I'm an admin for a group called brilliant magic, and we'd love to have this added to the group!

  18. onefamousdog 53 months ago | reply

    Hi, I'm an admin for a group called soulful group, and we'd love to have this added to the group!

  19. taguiar 51 months ago | reply

    Hi, I'm an admin for a group called Designers Católicos, and we'd love to have this added to the group!

  20. Kim Schuster 37 months ago | reply

    This simply takes my breath away! I am looking forward to sitting down with some uninterrupted time to look through your photostream. It is very beautiful and educational. I love what I have seen so far. Thank you!

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