the artist’s dream
takes an unlikely turn
into the desert
I’ve loved this painting ever since I first saw a version of it. I was shopping for discounted Christmas cards, and found a box full of blank Christmas cards with the sphinx, Mary and the Christ child. It’s still the most beautiful Christmas card I’ve ever seen.
I also love the larger painting. Joseph sprawls exhausted on the ground, head pillowed by a stone. His faithful donkey nibbles at blades of grass, and a small fire burns steady into the clear night air.
Perhaps Joseph is the artist dreaming this vision of unexpected beauty. Or perhaps Mary is dreaming it. Or even the Christ child–for whose life these young parents are fleeing their hometown. Refugees in the desert. Alone but not alone. On the way to Egypt. Taking nothing but themselves. Watched over by a power greater than themselves.
© Elouise Renich Fraser, 5 February 2017
Image of artwork found at wickipedia.com – Rest on the Flight into Egypt 1879, by Luc-Olivier Merson