Our Christmas art miniseries continues with the fresh and lovely work of Matthew Alderman, who graciously shared several of his drawings with us. Today’s piece is this remarkably lucid Madonna and Child, originally a Christmas card design.
When I saw his art, I immediately thought of the great Walter Crane, who illustrated so many children’s books around the turn of the century. This Madonna and Child recall that courtly, allegorical style, but in place of a characteristic smoldering, guarded expression, Mary and Jesus’ faces are open and enthusiastic, and the design looks nobly ancient rather than old-fashioned. Lovers of children’s books will also be reminded of Trina Schart Hyman, who drew heavily on heraldry and illuminated manuscripts, nodded at the pre-raphaelites, and then opened the window to let some air in.
Ohh, I have questions for Mr. Alderman! More about his extensive work later.
I chose this work of art for today because I can imagine Mary and Jesus having had a few days to rest and freshen up after the birth. They are clearly feeling fine and are ready to receive visitors. Mary wears rings and a circlet of pearls, as an honored queen, but just like any new mother, she is proud of her beautiful new baby boy, and wants to show him off.
A nice reminder, on a day when many of us are heading back to work and taking up our daily chores and routine again. Take a moment, at some point during the day, to visit with this happy young mother and her wonderful Child. Praise him, and pass along this openness and joy to the next person you meet!
You can see the rest of this year’s Christmas art here: John the Baptist by Matt Clark, some pregnant madonnas by Teresa von Teichman, and Lo, How a Rose E’er Blooming by the extraordinary James Janknegt.