First Christmas

First Christmas

by London National Gallery of London, National Gallery London Staff, National Gallery of London
     
 

And in the sixth month, the Angel Gabriel was sent from God, unto a city of Galilee, named Nazareth...

The story of that first Christmas long ago is captured here in all its mystery by some of the world's greatest painters.

The Angel Gabriel comes to Mary bathed in the brilliance of the early Italian Renaissance. Mary travels to Bethlehem through a

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Overview

And in the sixth month, the Angel Gabriel was sent from God, unto a city of Galilee, named Nazareth...

The story of that first Christmas long ago is captured here in all its mystery by some of the world's greatest painters.

The Angel Gabriel comes to Mary bathed in the brilliance of the early Italian Renaissance. Mary travels to Bethlehem through a misty early sixteenth-century landscape; a gentle Joseph, painted by Giorgione, is at her side. Geertgen's young and innocent Mary gazes at her newborn child, whose heavenly radiance illuminates the darkness of the stable and the angels and oxen beside his manger bed.

Guido Reni's simple shepherds gather round; Renaissance kings offer homage. The story ends with a magical pastoral scene as Patel's Holy Family rest on their flight into Egypt amid a peaceful classical landscape that opens out towards the sea.

The beauty of the familiar words of the King James Version of the Bible weaves these and other glorious images together to create a new work of art: a Christmas story that will be treasured by readers young and old.

All the paintings featured here are from the collection in The National Gallery, London.

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Editorial Reviews

Kathryn Broderick
The Christmas story, in the words of the Prophet Isaiah, St. Matthew, and St. Luke (taken from the Authorized King James Version of the Bible), is presented alongside the work of such artists as Fra Filippo Lippi, Botticelli, and Jan Gossaert. The book focuses on details from paintings that hang in the National Gallery, London: thus, when the angel Gabriel visits Mary with news that she will bear the Christ child, the accompanying illustration is a close-up of Gabriel's hand, a beautiful and minute part of "The Annunciation, with St. Emidius" by Carlo Crivelli; when the Holy Family departs into Egypt, the illustration shows a pastoral image from "The Rest on the Flight into Egypt" by Pierre Patel. Endpapers feature the feathers from Gabriel's wings as seen on a glowing, golden altarpiece, entitled "The Annunciation", painted by a follower of Fra Angelico. In total, 16 paintings are represented, the whole of each shown in the index in a small, full-color reproduction, with a note about the artist and brief commentary on the work. Looking back and forth between a part of the whole and the complete image is an interesting way to study art. And showing the many ways the story of Christ's birth has touched the creative spirit is an intriguing and successful method of illustrating the Christmas story.

Product Details

ISBN-13:
9780671793647
Publisher:
Simon & Schuster Books For Young Readers
Publication date:
09/01/1992
Pages:
32
Product dimensions:
11.33(w) x 8.96(h) x 0.38(d)
Age Range:
7 - 10 Years

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