Last year, you may recall we did daily blog posts throughout the season of Advent, showcasing some wonderful biblical art. This year, I thought we’d do it again as quite a few readers seemed to enjoy the daily Advent offering. Now, I realise I’m a day late with this (nearly two days late in the southern hemisphere) but I’ve been travelling of late and this particular chore on my ‘to do list’ somehow escaped my mind. Better late than never, though. To start us off in style, and to make up for my tardiness, two images from 15th Century Netherlandish artist Hans Memling. The first is titled ‘The Advent and Triumph of Christ’ (an apt work then, to begin with), originally made for an altar in Our Lady’s Church, Bruges. The incredibly detailed painting portrays twenty five scenes from the life of Jesus, as depicted in the gospels and Christian traditions, from the annunciation and nativity through to the passion, resurrection, ascension and Pentecost. If you look at the work here, you can enlarge the image and see some of the fabulous detail more closely.
The second work by Memling I’d like to share with you is his portrayal of musical angels (an image oft reproduced on Christmas cards). This is a panel from a huge altarpiece that once graced the monastery church of Santa Maria la Real in the Spanish town of Nájera. While some of the panels have since been lost, three remain, and this is my favourite. The angels all look so intent on their musical endeavours and their instruments are a pleasing mix of string, woodwind, and brass. I always associate Advent with music and singing, so it seems apt to have this at the start of our Advent offerings. I wonder what tune they’re playing?
Back tomorrow with our next advent offering.