Saturday, December 31, 2016

Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace, good will toward men.

Melozzo da Forli (Italian Renaissance artist, 1438-1494) Angel from the Vault of the Sacristy of Saint Mark  January 29, 2011. "Without Melozzo, the work of Raphael and Michelangelo would have never existed.” This statement by Antonio Paolucci, director of the Vatican Museums, sums up the impact this renaissance painter had on some of the greatest Italian painters.


Sir Thomas Samwell and Friends by Philippe Mercier (c. 1733)

“Seeing in the New Year” 1836

“Seeing in the New Year” from The book of Christmas illustrated by Robert Seymour 1836

In both the Gregorian calendar, currently used in the United States, & the Julian calendar, which was used until 1752 in the British colonies, the last day of the year is December 31. 

In Europe, the mid-winter period was traditionally associated with feasting & parties. New Year’s Eve festivities can be traced back to celebrations in Europe that date back before Christianity spread.  When many inhabitants in Europe were converted to Christianity, these festivals were merged with Christian beliefs & in time came to mark holidays such as the New Year’s Eve & New Year celebrations.

In the early years of the American colonies & within the new republic of the United States, this type of celebration was often frowned upon, particularly by religious communities. Around the start of the 1900s, New Year's Eve celebrations in America started to appear. The first Ball drop in Times Square was held in 1907. Around the same time, special events, such as fireworks, to welcome the New Year in the United States started to be organized for December 31st.

Morning Madonna

Unknown Master, Flemish (late 15th century in Brussels) Virgin and Child crowned by 2 Angels

In this blog, I try to begin each day with a painting of the Madonna & Child. It centers me; connects me to the past; & encourages me to post some of the religious paintings which were a large part of the core of early Western art.  In the 4C, as the Christian population was rapidly growing & was now supported by the state, Christian art evolved & became grander to suit new, enlarged public spaces & the changing contemporary tastes of elite private clients.