Friday, December 18, 2009

Return of the Magi

Title: Return of the Magi

Artist: Dionisy

Medium: Fresco

Size: tbd

Date: c. 1502

Location: Nativity Cathedral of the St. Ferapont Belozero Monastery, Russia.

Matthew 2:12 records that the wise men, having been warned in a dream not to go back to Herod, returned to their country by another route.

That the Magi needed a supernatural revelation to warn them not to return by way of Jerusalem suggests their innocent naiveté. Even without Herod's unadmirable character, few kings would be ready to surrender their own rule to a nonrelative some foreigners hailed as king! (For that matter, not only powerful people in society but many others today seem reluctant to acknowledge Jesus' right to direct their lives.) The Magi's innocence compared to Herod's murderous shrewdness again reminds Matthew's readers not to prejudge the appropriate recipients of the gospel. Jesus is for all who will receive him, and God may provide Jesus' servants with allies in unexpected places if we have the wisdom to recognize them.

Dionisy (c.1450 – c.1520) was an outstanding icon painter and the most venerated artist at the turn of the 15th and 16th centuries in Russia, was a contemporary of Raphael, Leonardo, Botticelli and Durer. Dionisy created works that reflected a revival of Russian culture during an era when the Russian state was being unified. He painted in an atmosphere of spiritual rebirth, massive construction in Moscow and an intense apocalyptical mood connected with waiting for Doomsday at the end of the seven thousand years (according to the Old Russian chronology). Experts know of around ten cathedrals whose walls were painted by Dionisy. Some of the painter’s works are lost for good; some have been preserved by restorers. Only the wall painting of the Virgin Nativity Cathedral of the St. Ferapont Belozero Monastery has survived in full and intact.

No comments:

Post a Comment