Sunday, December 11, 2011

Visions of Christmas

This is a really neat Christmas book.  Various Renaissance artists are represented in beautiful triptych paintings that fold open on the pages.  Each artwork corresponds with verses from scripture showing the annunciation, the visitation, the nativity, adoration of the shepherds, the epiphany, and the flight to Egypt.

A Renaissance Nativity
Simon and Schuster Books for Young Readers 1997

The first page describes what a triptych is:  an image in three parts.   Folding triptychs, where two hinged wings flank a central panel, were a very popular form of devotional painting in the fifteenth century.  The more important interiors of the triptych could be protected by closing the wings; the exteriors, which were usually exposed to dirt and burning candles, were painted less colorfully or in monochrome to suggest stone sculpture and finished with simple ungilded frames.  Some "visions" in this book reunite the wings and panels of divided triptychs, allowing the viewer for the first time in many years the experience of unfolding the wings to reveal the contrasting glories within.
(Charlotte likes it because it's like a flap book.)

The index of paintings in the back gives biographical information about the artists and their work.

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