Botticelli's Mystic Nativity is, at first glance, the perfect Christmas image. What a bright and festive image it has as Mary and Joseph worship Jesus in a rough-hewn log cabin in a rocky field, while mortals embrace angels in the foreground.
What are those demons doing that disappear into cracks in the ground? It's an ominous Christmas surprise.
The Mystic Nativity represents the end of the world. Dated to 1500, the half millennium, it has a Greek text in which Botticelli states that "I, Sandro, made this painting at the end of the year 1500 in the riots of Italy in the middle of the time after the time according to the 11th chapter of St. John in the second woe of the Apocalypse during the release of the devil...”.
The Mystical Nativity is a vision of peace on earth, but it comes at a time of crisis: the Nativity opens the prophecy of the Apocalypse and human history ends in "ecstasy." Botticelli's angels, spinning towards paradise, are ecstatic; The revolution reaches the Holy Land.
At first glance, everything in the image is out of perspective. Botticelli deliberately rejects perspective, destabilizing the painting, destroying the pictorial order to make this a moment of absolute transformation. The Mystic Nativity is a reminder that the millennial shift has not always been about a patron-friendly Dome.
Botticelli began to paint the mystic nativity a few days after Savonarola's famous Lenten sermon. Savonarola's message was to repent, turn away from the demons, and let the angels lead them to the Savior. This became the basic theme of the mystical nativity . The inscription at the top of the painting indicates that Botticelli believed he was living in the final period before the second coming of Christ. This could be due to the huge upheavals in the religious and political arenas in Europe, as well as Savonarola's messages.
the mystical nativity in a general view is one of the nativity scenes, with Mary, Joseph, the baby Jesus, angels and animals. If you look closely, you can make symbolic and unusual iconography or interpretation of compositional images in detail. Each of the symbolic interpretations is related to the context of Savonarola's sermons.
The circle of twelve angels at the top of the painting represents the twelve hours of the day and the twelve months of the year. The angels represent faith, hope and charity, dressed in the corresponding white, red and green robes. Angels are bringing people out of a state of religious limbo, saving them from demons. The words on the angel ribbons, which cannot be seen except with infrared reflectography, show that the words correspond to the twelve privileges of the Virgin.
In the lower part of the painting, seven demons try to escape under slabs, fleeing to the underworld. Some are impaled on their own weapons. These demonic creatures are found at the bottom, where the angels are embracing the gentiles, saving them from their own demons, causing the demons to flee. The largest figures are of Mary and Joseph, emphasizing good over evil.
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