Friday, January 30, 2009

Madonna and Child

Madonna and Child
by Giotto di Bondone
Tempera on wood
Private collection

Check it out: Easter Island Jesus!

Wednesday, January 28, 2009


by Francesco di Giorgio Martini
Wood, 239 x 209 cm
San Domenico, Siena

Martini makes an interesting, if bizarre, choice to place the nativity in classical ruins.

You'd think he would give Squishy Jesus something a bit more comfortable than a broken off piece of building to recline on....

Sunday, January 25, 2009

The Mystic Marriage of St Catherine

The Mystic Marriage of St Catherine
Sodoma II
Oil on panel, 95 x 76 cm
Galleria Nazionale d'Arte Antica, Rome

No, that's not the name of a porn star--in fact Sodoma II is the painter of this portrait of Jesus marrying Saint Catherine.

I'm not totally convinced that Sodoma II could figure out how to properly paint the ring going on Catherine's finger, so he just left a blobby, blurry bit. I'm also not convinced that's a baby's body--what, were there no babies in 1540? Were artists forced to hire 30 year old weight-lifting models to stand in for the Baby Jesus?

Madonna with Blessing Child

Madonna with Blessing Child
by Giovanni Bellini
Oil on panel, 78 x 56 cm
Gallerie dell'Accademia, Venice

Keep that pinky finger under control, Mary!

Saturday, January 24, 2009

Historia Anglorum

Historia Anglorum
by an English Miniaturist
c. 1250
Illumination on parchment, 356 x 238 mm
British Museum, London

There are times when I wonder if the artist has actually ever seen a baby. You know, a new born human child? One that isn't wearing a toupee?

Friday, January 23, 2009

Virgin and Child

Virgin and Child
by Pieter Pauwel Rubens
Oil on wood, 65 x 48 cm
Musées Royaux des Beaux-Arts, Brussels

Good lord (no pun intended) Jesus, could you possibly be more gay?

Marriage of Saint Catherine

Marriage of Saint Catherine
by an Unknown Hungarian Master
c. 1500
Tempera on wood, 101,5 x 73 cm
Hungarian National Gallery, Budapest

Here Jesus, a homely little dude, slips a wedding ring on Catherine's finger, making her a life-long bride of Christ.

In the lower right hand corner, Saint Margaret has a pet dragon on a leash. Saint Barbara, lower left, has a toy castle tower.

Saints: total freaks.

Sunday, January 18, 2009

Virgin and Child with St Anne

Virgin and Child with St Anne
by Antoon Claeissens
Oil on panel, 122 x 94 cm
Private collection

Here's a nice family portrait: Saint Anne, her daughter Mary, and Mary's son, Mr. Invisible Clothes.

Adoration of the Child

Adoration of the Child
by Hieronymus Bosch
Oil on wood, 66 x 43 cm
Wallraf-Richartz Museum, Cologne

Is it just me, or are the ox and the ass abnormally interested in the birth of Jesus? Also, who exactly is the guy holding the strange tool, peaking out from behind the tapestry? Who are the men behind Mary's left shoulder warming themselves at the fire? Why does the ox have '80's bangs?

Saturday, January 17, 2009

The Adoration of the Magi

The Adoration of the Magi
by Bartolo di Fredi
Tempera on panel, 195 x 163 cm
Pinacoteca Nazionale, Siena

Here come a whole plethora of kings and fancily dressed people to kiss the foot of Jesus, but all he can think is "Man, those are some dumb-ass looking horses!"

The Holy Family with Young Saint John

The Holy Family with Young Saint John
by Domenico Beccafumi
c. 1530
Oil on panel, diameter 84 cm
Galleria degli Uffizi, Florence

Look Ma--I can make a muscle!

Friday, January 16, 2009

Birth of Jesus

Birth of Jesus
by Master Francke
Panel, 99 x 89 cm
Kunsthalle, Hamburg

Did you know that when Jesus was born, God opened a rip in the sky and shot down beams of radience directly from his beard onto Jesus?

It's true, just ask the beheaded ox and ass!

St Wolfgang Altarpiece: Circumcision

St Wolfgang Altarpiece: Circumcision
by Michael Pacher
Wood, 173 x 140,5 cm
Parish Church, Sankt Wolfgang

Under the circumstances, Jesus is pretty chill, red 'fro and all.

Sunday, January 11, 2009

Madonna and Child with St Peter Martyr

Madonna and Child with St Peter Martyr
by Lorenzo Lotto
Wood panel, 55 x 87 cm
Museo Nazionale di Capodimonte, Naples

Squishy Jesus is looking depressed in this painting, which is totally understandable. How would you like to hang out with a guy with a knife stuck in his head and a sword in his heart?

St Bridget and the Vision of the Nativity

St Bridget and the Vision of the Nativity
by Niccolo di Tommaso
after 1372
Tempera on wood, 44 x 54 cm
Pinacoteca, Vatican

That's Saint Bridget in the lower right having a vision of Jesus's birth. Mary has taken off her cloak and shoes, and given birth to her skinny son. (Um, what's with the trend with baby Jesus having breasts?) Mary and Jesus have matching brown mandorlas to show just how holy they are. Joseph has extraordinarily long fingers.

It's kind of hard to see in this reproduction, but two befuddled shepherds are receiving the news of Jesus's birth in the upper right from one of the many big-nosed angels.

Saturday, January 10, 2009

Madonna and Child (The Large Cowper Madonna)

Madonna and Child (The Large Cowper Madonna)
by Raffaello Sanzio
Oil on wood, 81 x 57 cm
National Gallery of Art, Washington

Mom, can I borrow your bra? Mine's too tight!

Gualino Madonna

Gualino Madonna
by Duccio di Buoninsegna
after 1285
Tempera on wood, 157 x 86 cm
Galleria Sabauda, Turin

You know, it's never to early to start with the Rogaine...

Thursday, January 8, 2009

Virgin and Child

Virgin and Child
by Joos van Cleve
Wood, 52,5 x 42 cm
Museum of Fine Arts, Budapest

"Oh mom" Jesus complains, "you know I'm sick of wine! Can't I for once just have apple juice in a sippy cup?"

The Holy Family with St Elizabeth and the Infant St John the Baptist

The Holy Family with St Elizabeth and the Infant St John the Baptist
by Bartolomeo Passerotti
c. 1572
Oil on copper, 29 x 22 cm
Private collection

Squishy (and chubby) Jesus whispers in the ear of Saint John the Baptist of The Love That Dare Not Speak Its Name. In addition to their love, Jesus and John share charming elbow dimples and pink-tinged buttocks.

Two angels embrace in the background of the painting, as if in sympathy.

Sunday, January 4, 2009

Madonna and Child with the Infant St John

Madonna and Child with the Infant St John
by Martino Piazza da Lodi
c. 1515
Oil on panel, 32 x 24 cm
Museum of Fine Arts, Budapest

I understand that squishy Jesus and Saint John the Baptist are spiritually close, but why do artists make them look like they are making out?

Saturday, January 3, 2009

Adoration of the Child

Adoration of the Child
by Master of the Polling Panels
Germanisches Nationalmuseum, Nuremberg

A seriously fugly Mary adores her chesty, beady-eyed child surrounded by miniature angels in this landscape painting. Behind the manger rendered with the artist's dubious idea of perspective, Joseph repairs a fence. To the rear of Joseph, an angel announces the birth of Christ to shephards tending their sheep beside a castle.

Virgin of the Vine Trellis

Virgin of the Vine Trellis
by Hans Baldung Grein
Musée de l'Oeuvre de Notre Dame, Strasbourg

Another bible story you may not be familiar with is depicted in this painting--the one where a winged baby wakes up Jesus and says "Hey man, want a grape?"

Friday, January 2, 2009

Virgin and Child

Virgin and Child
by Piero della Francesca
Panel, 62 x 53 cm
Collezione Vittorio Cini, Venice

Here are two things you may not have heard about the baby Jesus:

1. All his fingers are the same length.
2. His penis is actually a button.

The Holy Family with Sts Elisabeth and John the Baptist

The Holy Family with Sts Elisabeth and John the Baptist
by Francesco Primaticcio
Oil on slate, 43,5 x 31 cmThe Hermitage, St. Petersburg

A pale Jesus and a suntanned Saint John the Baptist arm wrestle in what appears to be an outdoor stadium. (Do you remember a stadium in the Nativity story?)

Mary's hands should not be missed in this painting--be sure and zoom in on them.