Wednesday, December 03, 2008

Christmas Art and stamps


My late Father-in-law Jim had a large stamp collection. I think of him often but never more than this time of year because we had a number of discussions about stamps and art. Although I am a not what anyone would call a good Episcopalian, I am a woman of great faith. I have many questions regarding organized religion and in my everyday life I am part of a very eclectic and ecumenical group and, sad to say, have not seen the best representation of faith, humanity, or compassion among my fellow members. Be that as it may, I have a great love for religious art. In particular, representations of the Madonna and child. As you may know, this is a subject that has been made into Christmas stamps for many years now. This painting is one of my favorites. It is by Botticelli. I love his bright use of color and the Christ child is represented as a sweet, chubby, darling boy. There are some Madonna & Child paintings that are bleak looking. That I think is a sign of what ever time they were painted in. This painting comes from the Renaissance period. A time of re-birth of society and culture. Given the time that came before it, the Renaissance was a recovery from darkness, death, and starvation. I have seen some wonderful ethnic paintings and religious art coming out of Mexico and other Latin countries as well. I really like them very much too. Of course the wonderful Russian and Greek Icons are a wonder as well.
I miss my Father-in-law very much. He died on Christmas day after a very long period of illness. I miss our conversations. At the end he didn't want to talk much and couldn't see. All that was precious was taken from him...except us. It must have been so hard for him and since he was a very circumspect and quiet man, I can hardly recall our conversations at the end. But I can recall our talks about stamps before that time.
In the end, the stamps have come down to me. There are some that my BIL Richard wanted and I would gladly give him those. The ones that mean a lot to me are the collections he gave me as gifts. The reason they mean so much is not because I couldn't live without them but that he gave me a gift he purchased himself. Pop never purchased anything in his last years. He never left the house and if someone needed something he might pay for it but he never went and bought things for anyone. The stamp collections mean a lot to me because of that. I wish there had been more time. Isn't that something that we all say?
At any rate, those are some thoughts about Pop and stamps that come to mind at this time every year.
I'm not sewing. Too much to do for the Pantry and my family right now.
I got my Christmas present early this year. Well, it's really a gift for both of us. My eyesight is giving me a great deal of trouble and I couldn't see the television from the bed in my room. It was too small. Roger came home with a 40 inch flat screen for me last night. He's such a wonderful husband. So now there is a monolith in the bedroom as well as the living room. We said that it would be our gift to each other. Well, other than a couple of small things.
I've got to get back to work. There have been some computer problems in the past few days and it's messing with my getting things done. Thanks for letting me babble. I really just wanted to get that turkey off the page a little.
Hope your days are merry and bright!

6 comments:

Libby said...

We were able to see this work in person - you are so right about it being colorful and hopeful against many others that come from a darker era. Sounds like you had a very special and memorable relationship with your FIL.

Kay said...

This is a beautiful painting. One thing I like about Christmas is the many beautiful religious paintings that appear on cards, stamps, etc. Some people might think that such common use cheapens them I guess, but it seems to me the more people see beautiful things the better.

rianammerman said...

What a nice man that Roger is. You will be surprised how bright that monolith in the bedroom is, and amazed at the clear images. We have a monolith in our bedroom too.

jettstream said...

I too love Christmas stamps in particular, but most all commemorative stamps in general. I'm always amazed at the quality of the renderings of great paintings that you can actually OWN for mere pennies. And gripe as we do about the Postal Service, it still amazes me that for 42 cents someone will come to my house and take a letter to a loved one on the other side of the country. In just a few days. It's the biggest bargain this country has going, and always has been.

Sigh. Wishing for a monolith in my bedroom for Christmas.

Quilting Journey said...

For as long as I can remember, my mother has loved Madonna and Child imagery. The symbology runs so very deep, rich and beautiful. Their house here in Alaska has every kind of 'Mother and Child'...from paintings, prints, calendars, greeting cards..you name it. It has also reminded me how deep each of our own needs are to be mothered as we go through our own challenging times. It is a rich and beautiful symbol of love, nurturing, and extension of self into another. How lovely that you carry this beauty and handing down of love in you, Dee. You are not only pampered and loved by Roger, and your dear father in law, but by so many others. May you bundle all that love up with you under your new roof this year and celebrate love and joy ever present inspite of all else.

Cindra said...

I love that painting and your story is even better. I wish my father in law had been a loving person... to any of his family. So sad... he didn't even believe in Christmas.