Favorite Christmas Art

Christmas art = a smorgasbord. There is so much art associated with Christmas. I would bet there there are over a million different depictions that are associated with the biblical Christmas story. Here are a couple of pieces of Christmas art that I particularly like:

Jan van Eyck, The Annunciation, c. 1435
My favorite thing about this painting: the awesome rainbow wings on the angel Gabriel. I also love the that Gothic and Renaissance references are combined in the same architectural setting, references the Old and New Testament.

Georges de la Tour, Adoration of the Shepherds, c. 1644
I particularly love the hand on the right which covers up a candle. Sigh – tenebristic lighting is awesome. I also love the adoring expression of the man on the right.

Brian Kershisnik, Nativity, 2006
You HAVE to click on the image above to see all of the details in this painting. I saw Nativity a few years ago, soon after it was completed. This painting is HUGE (about 7′ x 17′), and the viewer can’t help but feel swept into the swarm of angels that swoop around the Holy Family. It’s quite moving.

Do you have a favorite piece of Christmas art?

Merry Christmas and Happy Holidays!

  • ixoj says:

    I heart the Kershisnik one. Where is it?

  • Emperor of EUtopia says:

    I love the Nativity. It feels exactly as it should be.

  • e says:

    I LOVE LOVE LOVE the Nativity you posted in this blog. I love the angels and I LOVE that Mary is holding the baby Jesus. I know that Jesus was laid in the manger at some point, but don't you think that Mary was so overcome with love that she just held him for a very long time? This painting certainly represents my thoughts on that.

    In terms of my favorite Christmas art, I'd have to say my VERY favorite is the Christmas scene by Thomas Kinkade!


    My favorite piece of Christmas art is a nativity I was given several years back. It is actually the nativity scene carved into a small rock about the size of a fist. I LOVE it. It's so different. I wish I had it here to take a picture to show you (like everything else, it is in Utah!).

  • M says:

    I'm so glad that other people like Kershisnik's "Nativity." Isn't it great? I saw it on display at an exhibition called "Beholding Salvation" at the BYU Museum of Art. I know it was on display last December (2008) at the UMFA, but I don't know where it is currently located.

    I was working at another museum when "Nativity" was on display at the MOA in 2006, and the museum director was obsessed with the idea of acquiring the painting. Another museum worker and I even paid a visit to Kershisnik's studio at the time – I think as a political move, so that Kershisnik would remember our museum's interest in his work.

  • heidenkind says:

    That Nativity painting is awesome. As for Christmas-related art… uh, I'm kind of drawing a blank. Maybe The Flight into Egypt by Giotto? But that's more like post-Christmas.

  • kashurst says:

    I'm with e. I don't care who you are, if there was a brand new baby Jesus, you'd be snuggling him! That has always been my beef with most nativity scenes.I also love that there are so many different kinds of angels. Beautiful!

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This blog focuses on making Western art history accessible and interesting to all types of audiences: art historians, students, and anyone else who is curious about art. Alberti’s Window is maintained by Monica Bowen, an art historian and professor.