In general, I find Christmas art to be a bit prosaic. There’s the usual cherubim, angels or depictions of santa everywhere. None of it particularly excites me or makes me think wow. So in writing this blog piece, I set out to find some examples of “Christmas art” which inspired me and gave me food for thought. The idea isn’t to say that my choices are any better than anyone else’s, but instead to give a personal perspective.
1. Salvador Dali – Noel
So here is the first by Salvador Dali titled “Noel”. At first glance, there is a line of symmetry running vertically through the picture, but after a while, you notice plenty of subtle differences. It’s very much open to interpretation as to what it means and even Dali in his own time rejected having his art objectified and categorised.
When merged together, the two faces become one and show an image of the Madonna. But to me, I didn’t see that. Instead, I saw something more simple – I love the pair of unofficial Christmas Tree’s at the top, the gently falling snow at night, the elevation of the stars above the pair of lips below. Where many of Dali’s pictures are warped and creepy, this reminds of Christmas time wrapped up warm, walking to church in the snow.
2. Unknown Graphic Art
Christmas art for many is associated with personal memories and the above unknown piece signifies this time every year spent in Holland in various cities. As a child, Holland always felt colder than England, but that didn’t matter, there was snow to play around, ice-covered canals, Christmas carols in the many beautiful churches and drinking hot mulled wine. In one sense, this photo turned into digital art shows the street in shutdown, quiet and without life. But in another sense, it shows hundreds of years of family worshipping, being together and being a tight-knit community.
3. All the Faces Between
For the final picture of Christmas Art, I decided to create something myself and it only took five minutes of editing on Photoshop. What does it say? I found a monochrome clipart of Jesus on the internet and immediately thought that it might look interesting if clipped vertical, so that Jesus was looking at himself. It worked as I imagined Jesus conceptually looking at himself in a mirror, but wanting to see us “Christ-like”. By chance, a series of other faces quietly materialised in between making us realise that we are always under his gaze, care and love.