Discover an artwork each day throughout Advent
Christmas Eve is the final day of our VCS Advent Calendar.
The VCS Advent Calendar has featured an artwork and its associated commentary each day, echoing the themes of Advent. We hope that this collection has opened up new perspectives for you during this season.
Read more from the VCS Director
The metaphors of opening up, unwrapping, and revelation have been central to this Advent Calendar. Now, at Christmas, the child Jesus is revealed to the eyes of the shepherds who come eagerly to behold him. Countless artists since have done what Mary first did then, which is to bring Jesus forth to the eyes of those who seek ‘a sign’ in this humble birth (Luke 2:12).
The fifteenth-century theologian and priest Nicholas of Cusa talked of God’s coming into the world, in the form of a human baby, as an implicatio (an ‘enfoldedness’), followed by an explicatio (an ‘unfoldedness’). With Nicholas too, then, we encounter the language of wrapping and unwrapping. Christ—having been enwrapped in Mary’s body—is brought forth; but (as for the shepherds) this physical emergence is at the same time a spiritual epiphany: the unfolding of a revelation.
Nicholas goes on to say that Christ’s enfoldedness is only unfolded so that we might be folded into the mystery too, and this he calls complicatio (literally, a ‘folding with’).
We hope that this Advent journey with works of art has brought you into just that threefold dynamic, as covering leads to uncovering, and finally to discovering.
Professor Ben Quash
Director of the Visual Commentary on Scripture
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