120 – The Colour of Virtue

Ambrogio Lorenzetti, Maestà, c. 1335. Museo di Arte Sacra, Massa Marittima. I’m giving a talk for ARTscapades on Wednesday afternoon (at 2pm) entitled Good and Bad Government, which would be fine, apart from the fact that it has a subtitle The Lorenzetti Brothers in Siena. What was I thinking? I will have plenty of timeContinue reading “120 – The Colour of Virtue”

119 – Beyond Christmas (a coda)

The Adoration of the Kings from The Benedictional of St Æthelwold, f. 24v, 963-984. British Museum, London. Last week, when I was talking about a 6th Century mosaic showing the procession of the Magi (118 – Epiphany in Ravenna) I said that it was only several centuries later that the Magi began to be seenContinue reading “119 – Beyond Christmas (a coda)”

118 – Epiphany in Ravenna

The Adoration of the Magi, c. 504/560 and later. Sant’Apollinare Nuovo, Ravenna. It’s Epiphany – a moment of sudden and great revelation – and today celebrates the moment at which the wise men recognised Jesus as the Boy Born to be King, their gifts of gold, frankincense, and myrrh usually interpreted as gifts suitable forContinue reading “118 – Epiphany in Ravenna”

117 – St Thomas Becket

St Thomas Becket, c. 1178-89. Monreale Cathedral, Sicily. Thomas Becket, Archbishop of Canterbury, was murdered on 29 December 1170 – eight hundred and fifty years ago. I wanted to mark the occasion. I’m not going to talk much about him, or about his relationship with King Henry II, the man who has always been blamedContinue reading “117 – St Thomas Becket”

An Advent Calendar – 24

‘Myrrh’ – Myrrh is mine; its bitter perfume Brings a life of gathering gloom; Sorrowing, sighing, Bleeding, dying, Sealed in the stone-cold tomb. Once more John Henry Hopkins Jr. proves his knowledge of Origen. To complete the quotation that has built up over the last two days, ‘gold, as to a king; myrrh, as toContinue reading “An Advent Calendar – 24”

An Advent Calendar – 20

‘Joseph’ – Oh, Joseph! Poor Joseph! Always off to one side, half in the shadows, but with so much responsibility. Of course, the bible says next to nothing about him – apart from the fact that he was of the house of David, and was thought to be Jesus’s father. So almost everything we knowContinue reading “An Advent Calendar – 20”