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Toddler Jesus in Art

 
 
Reply Sun 5 Jun, 2005 06:08 pm
Today I was looking up some images for Lash's art thread and revisiting some of my favorite Byzantine icons when I flashed back to art history class and a very brief discussion of how artists had a hard time depicting young Jesus. Most often he shows, child sized but with adult features and manners:

A typical icon -
[img]http://[/IMG]http://www.culture.gr/2/21/215/21505/215051/2150513/00/l119h15.jpg

The Renaissance didn't do much better. Here are some depictions from well regarded Renaissance artists:

Giotto -
http://www.abcgallery.com/G/giotto/giotto27.JPG


da Vinci (even St. John suffers the fate of making him look adult (and strangely, this image has editied out St. Anne's hand but anyway....))
http://www.ibiblio.org/wm/paint/auth/vinci/rocks.jpg

Rapheal:
http://www.abcgallery.com/R/raphael/raphael22.JPG

I could list a lot more examples but I think this is a good example. In fact, I would be hard pressed to find an image of Jesus where he didn't have adult features.

Do you know of any?

Why do you think that the greatest artists of our world have a hard time depicting a child Jesus?
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Type: Discussion • Score: 1 • Views: 2,575 • Replies: 22
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boomerang
 
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Reply Sun 5 Jun, 2005 07:06 pm
Interesting.

Here is the da Vinci with St. Anne's hand back in:
http://www.join2day.net/abc/L/leonardo/leonardo2.JPG
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boomerang
 
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Reply Sun 5 Jun, 2005 07:29 pm
Okay.

Maybe you don't know or don't care why Jesus was always depicted with adult features.

Why do you think the artchive site (a really good site for images) monkeyed around with da Vinci's painting?

That is so weird.
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Portal Star
 
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Reply Sun 5 Jun, 2005 08:59 pm
1. I think that people have and still have trouble painting babies in general. Artists are usually adults and tend not to get very many baby models.

2. Often, in art history, someone will edit out or call attention to certain features of artwork to illustrate a point.
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ossobuco
 
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Reply Sun 5 Jun, 2005 10:16 pm
I've seen some hilarious toddler Jesus depictions - well, hilarious now, if not then.

I like old sienese paintings about the way you like the byzantine icons...


in the meantime, I can't see your links, but I am having a hard time in the last half hour or so checking in to any thread - very slow loading. That may be my server and not anything to do with a2k, and so may the business of my not seeing your photos.
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boomerang
 
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Reply Mon 6 Jun, 2005 08:04 am
Hmmm.

Sometimes the links show up and sometimes they don't.

I'm going to snoop around and look for some paintings with babies that aren't holy babies and see what I can come up with.

Personally, I think it has more to do with presenting Jesus as someone who was not necessarily wise - like a baby isn't wise.

I've spent many many hours of my life in art history classes and cannot recall such editing of images. You would see details of images but not something like a hand edited out.

I had been flipping through books looking for paintings of toddler Jesus and came across the da Vinci. When I pulled up the image on Artchive I immediately noticed that the hand was gone.

Gestures are so important to the interpretation of religious art that I think it is really weird that someone would edit out such a central gesture.
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sozobe
 
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Reply Mon 6 Jun, 2005 08:11 am
The only one I see is the da Vinci.

Perhaps a restoration thing? One is pre-, one is post-?

I remember learning about this and I just can't remember what I learned. Embarrassed What I remember is that, rather abruptly, ________ painted Jesus as an actual baby-looking baby and that was revolutionary. I don't remember who, and I don't remember why not before that. What comes to mind but I can vouch for is that it had something to do with his divinity. That he was divine from the moment he was born, and that somehow that translated to making him look adult...?

I'll see what I can find.
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boomerang
 
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Reply Mon 6 Jun, 2005 08:18 am
I think I found it - there are two versions of the painting. One is in the Louvre and the other is in the National Gallery (London). One has a hand (Louvre) and the other doesn't!

Most sites don't mention that but I found a compairison site: http://www.lairweb.org.nz/leonardo/rocks.html

I don't know where I got the idea that the other woman was St. Anne. I knew it couldn't be Elizabeth because she was older but it seems that she is just a maiden or an angle.
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sozobe
 
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Reply Mon 6 Jun, 2005 08:23 am
(CAN'T vouch for, not can.)

Ah, that makes sense about two versions. Was that even a plot point in "The Da Vinci Code". (Brain cells, come baaaack!!!)
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boomerang
 
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Reply Mon 6 Jun, 2005 08:44 am
Oh you could be right. I chose it because it was convenient and it had a good toddler Jesus.

Okay, mystery solved. Off to look for babies. I'm thinking there will be lots of cherubs to chose from....
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Piffka
 
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Reply Mon 6 Jun, 2005 08:54 am
This is modern... definitely a baby. Morgan Weistlingseems to have engaged the internet.

http://www.freespiritart.com/images/kissing-face-god.jpg
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boomerang
 
  1  
Reply Mon 6 Jun, 2005 09:11 am
The infant Jesus doesn't seem to have been adultized as often. I'm going to look around for some infant Jesus pictures too.

Here's a toddler Jesus where he appears more as an actual baby:

Madonna of the Pesaro Family:
http://www.ibiblio.org/wm/paint/auth/titian/madonna-pesaro/madonna-pesaro.jpg
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Piffka
 
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Reply Mon 6 Jun, 2005 09:20 am
Except the head's too small ... I forgot what the ratio of an infant's head to its body, but that's what really cues us to it being a baby. Is it 1/3 the length of the body?

This link says 1:4.
Incongruous Infants
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boomerang
 
  1  
Reply Mon 6 Jun, 2005 09:26 am
Very interesting, Piffka! Thank you.

It is hard to find any Renaissance paintings of mother and child that are not Mary and Jesus so I'm having a hard time finding compaisons to see if it is just Jesus and John who appear as small adults!
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ossobuco
 
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Reply Mon 6 Jun, 2005 09:32 am
I tried to give a link for Parmigianino's Madonna with the Long Neck, now there's a babe, but the photo came out too large...
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boomerang
 
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Reply Mon 6 Jun, 2005 09:42 am
I know that painting! That kid is HUGE!

I'll see if I can find one...
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boomerang
 
  1  
Reply Mon 6 Jun, 2005 09:44 am
Here she is:

http://www.artchive.com/artchive/p/parmigianino/long_neck.jpg
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mac11
 
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Reply Mon 6 Jun, 2005 10:01 am
Yes, it should be called Madonna with the Long Jesus!
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Piffka
 
  1  
Reply Mon 6 Jun, 2005 10:45 am
Freakish!

"Madonna dell Sedia"
Raphael -- after 1515
http://www.catholictradition.org/renais1-2.jpg
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Piffka
 
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Reply Mon 6 Jun, 2005 05:43 pm
Here's Botticelli's Madonna of the Eucharist (1470)
and another good-looking baby.

http://www.catholictradition.org/renais3.jpg
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