Mug with the Adoration of the Magi, 1604
Glass, enamel, gilt
Los Angeles County Museum of Art
Today's work of art comes to us from the state of California. I've been to California twice, and I was in Los Angeles both times, but I somehow failed to visit the Los Angeles County Museum of Art, which strikes me as being a little odd, insofar as I really like art museums. I think I will make a point of visiting it next time I'm there.
This is one of two works I seriously considered from California museums. It has a lot going for it, not least of which is that it's a painted mug. I like to mix it up when I do art posts; sure, there are hundreds if not thousands of beautiful Madonna and Child paintings out there, and while it would certainly be a lot easier to just post one of them every day, it would grow tiresome. So I look for sculpture, illuminated manuscript pages, lithographs and woodcuts, decorative arts, stained glass, photographs, and any other form of media. Painted mugs, as you might imagine, are not an artistic form you run across every day, so it was a very attractive option. But so was the other work I had in mind, because it depicted something that's fairly uncommon in sacred art. I was genuinely torn. And then, a sign! in the rather unlikely form of a two-page color advertisement in today's Washington Post. It seems that on this date in 1933, the State of Utah ratified the 21st Amendment to the U.S. Constitution, the 36th of the 48 states to do so, thereby repealing the 18th Amendment and making it legal to manufacture, import, and sell alcohol in the United States. So what better work of art to feature than this beer mug?
As for the other piece I was considering, look for it as an Art on Sunday post in March.
Previous Advent posts:
2003: Chesterton, How Far Is It to Bethlehem
2004: Zorach, Christmas Mail
2005: Look, up in the sky!
2006: "Adam lay ybounden"