Christmas Inspiration: A Curious Painting

From her literary blog in England, Susan Hill sends this holiday note:

“Painting. Among so many wonderful, glowing, gold and dark paintings of the Nativity – especially the ones lit by candlelight from within so that the light both illuminates the group in the stable and sheds its light out to the viewer, in some miracle of the painter’s art – I will choose one by Cranach the Elder, a 16th century, strange painting with the faces all slightly odd, the light on the shepherds outside shining out of a deep patch of blue, the shepherd separately lit and looking so solemn and humble, and the baby surrounded by angels of his own size, all crammed round the manger. It is haunting and it seems extraoordinarily contemporary though clearly of its time too. Once studied, never forgotten but you do not see it often.”


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