The Blog of John Walford, British-born, but long resident in The United States. I am an art historian, currently studying satire in Netherlandish art, an amateur photographer, and occasional writer, who writes here about art, photography, and the human condition--some of it ekphratic poetry, responding to works of art. This is to be a site for words and images, interacting on one another, as vehicles of human expression.

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Tuesday, December 14, 2010

The Nativity - A Fresh Look




John Walford, The Nativity, 2010 (Inspired and adapted from Gerard van Honthorst’s Nativity, 1622 (Wallraf_Richartz Museum, Koln), with thanks to each photographer for elements that contribute to this piece, for use of which all efforts have been made to obtain permission. My thanks also to Immanuel Presbyterian Church, whose 2010 Christmas lessons and carols service caused me to reflect on the significance of the ox and ass.

"The Nativity - A Fresh Look"

No misplaced marvel, incalculable wonder,
By science unexplained, and unexplainable!
A virgin birth, the boys in high school know,
Comes not ever into being, never so conceived.
A trick of language? A wicked rumor spread?
Or a matter of divine breaking of His own rules?

Who daily the world spins on its axis, made it so,
Each night, day follows, He deemed it thus to go.
This one child’s mother Virgin pure stayed she,
So we know, her son both flesh and divinity to be.
Of saccharine, smiling, nativity greetings cards
So soured am I! They lie, for surely it was not so!

Only the unknown, the outcast to a stable sent,
For richer folks, for inn space, their money spent.
Poor shepherds, out in the fields, tattered clothes,
Poor protection from the chill, were open to learn,
To heed wondrous words, that angels did disclose;
And what those richer folks did not dream or know,
Was put in the mind of an ass and ox to show.

--- John Walford, Christmas 2010, from a heart
overflowing with wonder and deep gratitude,
and wishing all family and friends likewise.
With our shared affection, John & Maria W.

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John Walford

John Walford
Not All That Meets The Eye

About Me

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I am a British-born, art historian, teaching in the USA; I studied law, in England,1964-68; worked part-time in the art world, 1968-69; then studied art history at the Vrije Universiteit, Amsterdam, 1969-76; completed my Ph.D. diss. at the University of Cambridge, 1981; moved to the States in 1981, and have since written, or co-authored, other books. I am currently studying satire in Netherlandish art. My wife, Maria, was born in Milan, Italy, where she worked as an interpreter, in business; she spent seven years in Switzerland, at the University of Lausanne, 1963-70. She came to Amsterdam in 1971, and we soon married. She is a wife, mother, literary critic, of Italian (and French) literature, and completed her Ph. D. diss. in 2002, at the University of Chicago, on Cesare Pavese and His Critics. We have three married children, and eight grandchildren, all of whom we excessively adore! I welcome dialog about art, photography, human behavior, beliefs, and motivation from all comers, regardless of race, color, gender, orientation, values, or beliefs. This is to be a site for words and images, as vehicles of human expression, around topics of mutual interest.

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