The story of the birth of Jesus is illustrated with works of art from the Metropolitan Museum of Art, paired with text from the King James Bible.
On the attractive cover is a reproduction of a portion of a Dutch painting from the early 1500s showing Mary, Joseph, and the baby Jesus. The painting is dark and dramatic, standing out against the red cloth and embossed gold accents of the cover, and this lush design continues on the gold endpapers decorated with a twining holly motif. The interior illustrations consist of reproductions of a dozen medieval and Renaissance paintings from the Met’s collection, all painted between 1423 and 1540. The Nativity story unfolds from the moment the angel Gabriel appears to Mary through the flight into Egypt, with a final Madonna portrait. The paintings are described and dated in a concluding page of notes. Two paintings include Wise Men with dark skin; the other people are depicted as white. The text uses extracts from the books of Matthew and Luke, with a well-known selection from the book of Isaiah as an introduction. These excerpts are from the King James Version of the Bible, with complex syntax and traditional Biblical language including “thou,” “thee,” and “ye.”
A beautiful, sophisticated merging of art and text that could be used in church programs on Christmas Eve or as an introduction to medieval and Renaissance painting for older students. (Picture book/religion. 8-14)