Wednesday, December 4, 2013

Catholic Art. Or, maybe Nativity Art. Is that right?!

I like to think about what my blog topic will be on any given day in the morning, since I often find inspiration in my daily preparations and commute. So. What happened in Tiffany's morning today to form a theme?

Exhibit A: Anne's Subtle Musings

"Mommy, where is the princess castle?"

"Upstairs, Honey. We needed to make room for the nativity set."

"Mommy, who are...THOSE PEOPLE?!"

Thankfully, she wasn't talking about the Holy Family. She was pointing accusingly to a gaggle of shepherds. I don't know how, but we would up with more shepherds than sheep in our nativity set.

"They're shepherds Sweetie. And the 3 Kings. Don't worry, the castle is upstairs all safe and sound."

"Want the castle, Mommy."


At any rate, this tied nicely into:

Exhibit B: The Advent Joy That Is Shepherd's Abiding

I just finished re-reading Jan Karon's Shepherd's Abiding, a lovely Advent story. And in that story, Fr. Tim decides to refurbish an heirloom nativity set for his wife as a surprise Christmas gift. In the course of his work, he seeks out a book of artistic renderings of the nativity, as a way of guiding his painting and plaster work. This notion has fascinated me every time I read the book. I want a book of images of the nativity! Doesn't that sound sublime?

And so, THEN:

Exhibit C: The Wonderful Deacon Tom & Dee Fox of Catholic Vitamins

I've started listening to the Catholic Vitamins podcast, and I'm so glad that I did. This week, their vitamin is I for Icons, and the interview they are doing with an icon writer (this is the proper term for iconographers) is absolutely fascinating, how prayer is instrumental throughout the process and how intricate it is to create an icon. I highly recommend listening to this episode if this topic is of interest to you. As I listened on my commute in, I thought back on that nativity book I was pondering, since all of this has me in a distinctive art kind of mood...

I know nothing about art. As in, seriously. My art teachers always gave me that placating smile they come up with for a child who has zero artistic ability but they don't want to make you feel bad. It's never been my gift. And so I really appreciate it when I see someone's work who DOES have this gift. All of these musings led me to do some searching on Amazon while I sat at a quiet reference shift. And I currently have a trial of Amazon Prime, so I'm drunk with power at the thought of ordering a single book, and not having to pay shipping, each day until the end of the year. :0 At any rate, I found this book, which looks kind of fascinating.

I figure there must be other contenders out there for art relating to the nativity. Does anyone have any titles to suggest?

I am at your command in the combox. :)


  1. *squee!!!*

    That picture of Saint Cecilia at the top of this post is one of my favorites. I majored in music in college, and my senior recital was titled "Composing Mortals, Immortal Fire"--a reference to W.H. Auden's poem "Hymn to Saint Cecilia." I used that exact picture on the fliers and posters for the recital!

    I can't really offer any suggestions on Nativity-related art books, sadly, though it's the sort of thing I could cheerfully drop entirely too much money on...

    1. It's a fantastic picture, she's one of my very favorites! I just love the color of her gown in that picture.


Thank you for commenting! I read and appreciate every single one, and I will respond to each one personally!