Monday, February 2, 2015

Feast of the Presentation

Happy Feast of the Presentation to all of you! This is a great feast day for Christians, so great, in fact, that it's usually the,... uh,.... "holiest"? of days for Satanists because they are supposed to hold black masses and commit all kinds of sacrileges because of what this day means in terms of salvation history, so the full joy and blessing to each and everyone of you!
One of at least two versions of The Presentation of Jesus at the Temple that Rembrandt did, the first on a much larger scale, where the figures get lost in the Temple space, and this more intimate and masterful arrangement, even with the dark shadows on the right side of the canvas. The Feast of the Presentation was, for centuries, called Candlemas, because it is the dedicating of Jesus to His calling in life, to be the "Light of the world," and so people would bring all their candles to this mass, and the priest would bless them (so people would remember,when they lit their candles, that Jesus is the light of the world, and the priests still bless any candles which are brought to the mass). The darkness, on the right side of the canvas, symbolizes the darkness that Mary, Joseph, Simeon and Anna have left behind now that the Light of the world has entered, and to illustrate how the world has changed because of this moment. Behind the standing figure of Anna, on the wall, we see the frames of the glass windows wherein the light from the outside floods the little scene: the window symbolizes meditation and reflection, which every member of the group is doing, each according to what will offer God the greatest glory. Anna, who could have re-married after the death of her husband, chose instead to dedicate her remaining years to interceding on behalf of Israel and praying for the coming of the messiah, stands with her hands held up; why? It's an act of worship. Because we see the priests do this in the mass, Catholics are more used to this gesture than Protestants, but it is the act of lifting one's heart up to heaven, of giving praise to God by giving yourself to Him. Anna wears brown clothing because of her humility: God didn't have to console her with seeing the Messiah, but in His love for Anna, He did reward her, and she's exclaiming over her good fortune. Simeon is something of a Moses-figure in this group because, like Moses being brought to the Promised Land and getting to see it with his own eyes (although he doesn't get to enter it) God demonstrates how He has kept His promise, because Jesus is the Promised Messiah, greater than the Promised Land. Mary is wrapped in the deep blue cloak symbolizing both her wisdom and the sorrow she will experience as the handmaid of the Lord; listening to Simeon's words, she preserves them in her heart because Mary is the "good salt" that preserves the good of God, whereas the wife of Lot was the "bad salt" that preserved the sins of Sodom and Gomorrah and was turned into salt as she looked back at her burning home the Lord saved her from (salt is a preservative). Dear Saint Joseph, part of the exemplary little group, yet with his back to the viewer, demonstrates his humility by receiving the wisdom of being close to the Light, and to Simeon's inspired words from the Holy Spirit. Joseph is always seen as a example of humility, so we, the viewers, are meant to take up his posture, on our knees, and like the great saint, contemplate the vision of Jesus subjecting Himself to the ritual of circumcision and naming so that, in perfectly fulfilling all the requirements of the Mosaic Law, He could then establish the new law, the New Commandment, "Love one another as I have loved you."
I am shocked at how cool the footage is for Fast and Furious 7 and Pitch Perfect 2 from yesterday, so I am working on that and getting it up; really, this stuff is loaded, and I just keep realizing that there is all this stuff that I need to put into this discussion, so check back in a couple of hours and I should have it done and up!
Eat Your Art Out,
The Fine Art Diner