Dear readers, as you may or may not have noticed, I disappeared for a little while.
Ok, so maybe it was almost a year.
But my excuse is that in that time I finished writing a book, got married, traveled for a month, moved to another continent, and started a new job. Please forgive my tardiness, and rest assured that I am BACK, with a renewed vigor for mocking inconsequential details in artwork made by people far more talented and popular (and usually dead) than me.
Having read some feedback suggesting that dark backgrounds make some potential readers uncomfortable, I have also changed the look of the site a bit. I thought that perhaps a nice light blue theme would soothe visitors before showing them depictions of mythical swan seduction and naked people being devoured by demon birds.
My last entry focused on paintings from the National Gallery of Art in DC. As it happens, I have now visited the gallery in person, and it turns out they have way more than just awkward American portraits. They have awkward paintings of everything. Thus, I am relaunching this blog with a two-part series of paintings of Madonna and Baby Jesus found at the NGA: the first will focus on images in which the holy duo is in some way a little….odd, and the second will look at some of the weird groupies that seemed to hang around with Madonna and Baby Jesus when they were posing for a painting (which was apparently all they did between baby ages 0-10). You can find all of these images in their online repository.
We’ll start with Mafia Madonna.
|Madonna and Child with Saint Jerome and Saint John the Baptist - Cima da Conegliano, c. 1459-1517 or 1518|
I quite like the technical execution of this work. But my first thought on seeing Momma’s face was, “If I mess with her baby, I will wake up to find a horse head in my bed.” Even Baby Jesus looks like he’s about to deal with St. Jerome’s stuttering excuses with a cool, calculated measurement for new concrete shoes.
Next up: Seizure Baby Jesus.
Allegedly Mary is adoring her baby here, but frankly I think she’s posed to defend herself from a child who is showing signs of contorting and clawing for brains in early-onset zombie-itis.
This leads us straight into Possibly-A-Cadaver Baby Jesus.
Seriously. That baby is not a healthy color. If it weren’t for his smooth features, I would have taken him for a shriveled centenarian.
Also, I think that Saint Peter should get that lazy eye seen to.
Poor Saint Paul’s male pattern baldness has left him susceptible to forehead tarantulas, as well.
Sometimes, instead of being tiny and shriveled, Baby Jesus is a ginormous monster.
I do not understand how Mary survived the labor. Although given her hands, and the fact that she seems to be kneeling, maybe he gets his big-boned-ness from his mother. And the angel has a shrunken skull.
And now, for Animal Sacrifice Jesus.
At least the baby is not obviously deformed in this painting. However, upon closer inspection he appears to be choking a bird while wearing a tribal necklace.
|Who’s a cute little animal mauler? YOU are! Yes you are!|
These symbols appears in a number of works: the bird is a finch, to represent his future sacrifice, and the necklace is coral, to protect against evil. I guess he must have lost that necklace when, you know, he was later betrayed and murdered. Maybe it was because of his animal strangling hobby.
Sometimes, Baby Jesus is depicted as like someone I would not want to leave my own children alone with.
He looks like he’s either going to have his way with all the women, or make you a terrible deal on a used car, all before he’s been potty trained.
Now, I leave you with this statue.
|Madonna and Child with Two Angels - Verona, 14th Century|
Mary and Clearly-Not-A-Baby Jesus will DEVOUR YOUR SOUL.