April 24, 2014

 Over the last few decades Victoria and I have probably visited every major art museum in North America and Western Europe. We are always on the look out for something special, such as a Vermeer, or for something unusual, such as a fake. One of the games we invented was to search the painting in a given museum for the ugliest baby Jesus. We have not compiled a complete list, but here are several that are near the top of any such list.


The Madonna of the Long Neck, Parmigianino, Uffizi

Not only is the child grotesque, the regal mother seems to be contemplating letting the boneless thing fall away and out of her sight.


Madonna and Child with Saints, Rosso Fiorentino, Galleria degli Uffizi, Florence. ...and a close up.


Not all the credit goes to Italian Mannerist painters.....

 Lucas Cranach (Northern Renaissance Painter, 1472-1553) and his workshop Virgin and Child with St John.

Carlo Crivelli did several, this one makes your skin crawl. Looks like he will grow up to be the Emperor Nero.

Carlo Crivelli
    'Virgin and Child', by Carlo Crivelli, 15th century, Victoria and Albert Museum.

Mother, check the  nappy.

ugly baby ugly 2
Andrea Mantegna Lucas van Leyden

vandc Paulo Tercio -Virgin And Child Of St Andrews Fulham ...painting was inspired on a vision to the artist in October 2008 at St Andrews Fulham Church, during Sunday Mass. First drawings interpreting the image were made early 2012 using the videomaterial Paulo Tercio had recorded. Thus to say the painting is a faithful representation of the scene.


Another game is to find the homoerotic icon, St Sebastian, with the most arrows. I once found one with 27 (I forget where), but his Mantegna in Venice has more than enough arrows.


St S
St Sebastian by Andrea Mantegna, 1490, Ca' d'Oro, Venice.