Years ago, when I first began painting, I was obsessed with paintings of the early Renaissance. I had a huge admiration for the artists of that era and for the whole notion of rebirth. I had been attending art classes at the University of Oklahoma, where abstract expressionism was the password to success. Realism was only snidely tolerated if disguised as pop art. I was praying for a miracle in Oklahoma, in the form of a rebirth of realism.
Several years later, I made it to the National Gallery of Art in Washington, DC and fell totally under the spell of their early renaissance collections. Botticelli made me swoon. Ghirlandaio‘s luminous portraits held me entranced. Who isn’t fascinated by a real Leonardo daVinci painting?
The subject that stole my heart though, was the story of The Flight into Egypt. In scripture (below), this story gets a cursory few lines. But imagine that trip, hearing other sources like the Cherry Tree Carol, and there is amazing visual beauty.
This picture was born from all that history, religion and mythology floating around in my subconscious. No, it’s not Mary and Joseph – more a contemporary couple with their own struggles, every one as difficult as the flight into Egypt.
13 – Now when they had departed, behold, an angel of the Lord appeared to Joseph in a dream, saying, “Arise, take the young Child and His mother, flee to Egypt, and stay there until I bring you word; for Herod will seek the young Child to destroy Him.”
14 – When he arose, he took the young Child and His mother by night and departed for Egypt,