Fra Angelico, The Annunciation, c.1430-32, Tempera on wood, Prado Museum, Madrid
Regular readers might be a little surprised to find Fra Angelico adorning the pages of this blog, but don't worry folks...I am not about to change my wicked ways and find God! I suppose technically I should have posted it around 8 months and 3 weeks ago on the basis that despite divine conception the little bastard would have gestated full term before landing in the manger.
I used this image in a talk I gave a few years back at the local regional gallery on 'Eroticism in Art'. I began the talk with it not because it is in anyway erotic, but it is very revealing. Why? Because I believe that without religion (or at least Christianity) eroticism would not exist, or at least in the form it does today. Call it simplistic if you like, but the churches effort to suppress human desire has created the 'forbidden' nature of eroticism that makes it so interesting.
Above, we see the Archangel Gabriel do the 'Ave Maria' bit while in the top left hand corner Adam and Eve are expelled from the Garden of Eden. Take home message: Mary good, Eve bad, and it is this 'evilness' of Eve as temptress that led to Christ and his disciples adopting chastity as a desirable quality. And what a wonderful little chain of events and attitudes that has left us with for the past 2000 odd years.
So, while I will certainly be enjoying the company of family and friends this Christmas I won't be celebrating the birth of Christ. I will be thinking about an increasingly fragmented world that sadly appears on a collision course with itself, and on that cheery note I am shutting down the system for a couple of weeks and going fishing...