By Darla McCammon
When John and I visited the Louvre in France, we walked through a magical assortment of some of the world’s most famous paintings, including The Mona Lisa.
This famous art gallery was once a castle, thus it had high ceilings and ornate rooms with elaborate designs and scrollwork on the ceilings and down the walls. One grandiose room led into another. Each room brought some new selections for us to enjoy. The most stunning room to me, however; was when we turned a corner and entered an enormous room with some of the paintings of Rubens on display. The paintings were HUGE! Far larger than my expectations. If the Mona Lisa was unexpectedly small, the work of Rubens was unexpectedly gargantuan.
I was mesmerized as I sat on a bench in the middle and looked at the Baroque grandeur surrounding us.
This painting by Rubens called “Adoration of the Magi” was completed in 1633-34 and has an interesting history. It is 13 ft 9 in x 10 ft 6 in. if you can imagine the enormity of it. The work was made for a convent, which reminds us how the religious community helped uneducated citizenry learn and remember stories from scripture when they were, for the most part, unable to read.
A succession of owners including royalty acquired this work as the convent closed and many vied for ownership. In 1959 Sotheby’s auctioned it off at what was then an astounding bid (250,000 pounds) to a millionaire named Allnatt. Ultimately it was offered as a gift to the institution called “King’s College” in Cambridge where it remains today. It was moved to many different locations within the chapel at Cambridge sometimes with large disputes about the best disposition for its’ beauty and safety. It became obvious the safety advocates had lost the battle when in 1974 someone vandalized the priceless treasure by scrawling the letters “IRA” in large two-foot-high letters across the face of the work. Other disputes included locating it so it did not block stained glass windows, and others were decisions that tore up some areas in order to put the painting in the best light for television broadcasts!
“The Adoration of the Magi” is a wonderful depiction of the visit by the Magi to bring gifts to the long-waited child that would change the world. I hope you have a Season in which blessings are richly poured out on you and your family.
Upcoming and Current Events:
- Warsaw City Hall Gallery. Steve Creighton’s work is on view through Friday. Creighton generously gave away several of his paintings at a drawing held at City Hall Gallery on Dec. 13. How wonderful Christmas will be for those winners of an original and lovely Creighton work of art!
- January brings another accomplished artist to Warsaw City Hall Gallery: Susan Ring will be bringing a wonderful collection of her award-winning work for your viewing enjoyment. The exhibit will open on Jan. 6. We will share her biography in my column next week.
- Jan. 6 is the date to turn in competitions for the 92 County Art Show at the Clark Gallery in the Honeywell facility in Wabash. Joel Fremion was last year’s top winner.