Columban Catholic Calendar Art Guide - January 2023

Columban Calendar Art Guide - January 2023 Adoration of the Magi, Flandrin, Jean-Hippolyte  

Use this Art Guide video in Step 3: Contemplation of Columban Visio Divina - Art Guide Resource

A resource to help you pray using the images and Art Guide of the 2023 Columban Art Calendar.


Adoration of the Magi, 1857 (oil on card) | Flandrin, Jean-Hippolyte (1809–1864) Bridgeman Images

The feast of the Epiphany celebrates the arrival of the Three Magi or Wise Men to the place where the young Jesus lived. The representation of the ‘Adoration of the Magi’ for this important feast is based on the Greek word epiphaneia, meaning the revelation or manifestation of the divine saviour, Jesus Christ, to the world. The introit for the festal Mass, “Behold, the dominator, the Lord has come ...” expresses this theology.

Jean-Hippolyte Flandrin, a French Neoclassical painter, renders the three Magi in the gesture of humble prostration before the holy family. Each dignitary bears a sumptuous gift, which also has symbolic meaning — gold for Jesus as a ‘king of the Jews’, frankincense for the infant’s divinity as the Son of God, and myrrh for embalming the mortal body of the God incarnate.

The leading Magi bows low on his knees as he offers his gift to the Christ-child, now seated on his mother’s lap as if upon a throne. Flandrin creates a rustic setting for the holy family within a humble and weathered shelter in need of repair. The artist has also moved away from traditional renderings of this scene by introducing a crowd of peasant observers: men, women and children. These people express astonishment, wonder and awe and represent the first witnesses to the revelation of divinity in their midst. They also symbolise the new church of the gentiles, to be spread throughout the world.

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