December 20th, 2010

Christmas, Advent

Advent Art: Angels at the birth of Christ

Carl Abrahams (1911–2005)
Angels at the birth of Christ, 1979
Oil on canvas
Angels at the birth of Christ
National Gallery of Jamaica, Kingston, Jamaica

This is one of those instances where you sort of have to take the artist's word for it that it's a work of Christmas art. There's nothing that strikes me as particularly angelic about these women, but Abrahams says they're angels, so they're angels. And what is it exactly that suggests these particular angels are present at the birth of the Christ? Naught but the title, as far as I can tell. Nevertheless, it's a striking image. And it's an example of something that seems fairly rare, an explicitly religious work of late 20th-century art. In 2007, only 6 of the 27 works I featured were created in the 20th century; in 2004, seven of 40.

Previous Advent posts:

2003: Christmas
2004: The Nativity
2005: Boots
2006: Of Heavenly Bodies
2007: Our Lady Hodegetria
2008: Love Came Down at Christmas
2009: From Christ I