Friday, July 31, 2009

Rest on the Flight to Egypt

Title: Rest on the Flight to Egypt
Artist: Nicholas Mynheer
Medium: Oil on canvas
Size: 20 x 50 cm
Date: 2003
Location: The Methodist Church Collection of Modern Christian Art, UK.

Mynheer's painting in the Methodist collection depicts the traditional scene of the Holy family taking rest in the desert on their way to Egypt fleeing from the wrath of Herod (Matthew 2:13-15). After the birth of Jesus, the Magi from the east had inadvertently alerted Herod to the presence of the Christ in their midst. An angel of the Lord appeared to Joseph in a dream and alerted him to Herod’s murderous scheme: "Get up," he said, "take the child and his mother and escape to Egypt. Stay there until I tell you, for Herod is going to search for the child to kill him.” Immediately Joseph gathered Mary and Jesus and left for Egypt.

With the threat receding, Mary and Joseph are able to play with the baby Jesus. The Judean Desert blooms with wild flowers for about two weeks every spring so the artist has depicted the desert it flowering in response to the presence of The Lord, echoing the words of The Benedicite "O All ye works of the Lord: praise him, and magnify him forever." Even the tree under which they are seen resting has come into fruit; for Nature itself responds to God, praising in its own way.

Nicholas Mynheer (b.1958) is a native of Oxfordshire, England. He is a contemporary artist whose principal themes are biblical, not only does Mynheer work in oil but also in glass and stone. For twenty years Nicholas has been painting and sculpting chiefly around Biblical themes for churches and religious institutions. His artworks are in many churches of all traditions throughout Britain and beyond. Mynheer's work is highly stylized, rather like medieval images in stained glass, sometimes his figures have an almost comic book cartoon like quality with a strong expressionistic force. His webiste is

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