Christmas 2003: The Nativity

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.

 

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Taken on December 26, 2008