Art in Focus – December 2020 / January 2021
Adorazione del Bambino (Adoration of the Christ Child)
Geritt van Honthorst, oil on canvas
The Dutch painter Geritt, or Gerard, van Honthorst was also known as Gherardo delle Notti (Gerard of the nights) for his fascination with light in the darkness. Early in his career, he visited Rome, where he came under the influence of the great exponent of light, Caravaggio. Van Honthorst went on to become a celebrated portrait painter, working for patrons like King Charles I of England and Grand Duke Cosimo II de’ Medici, of Tuscany.
In this painting, van Honthorst uses his skills to supreme effect. It is not intended to be a realistic portrayal. He shows us divine light coming into the world. The tender scene shows light spreading from the new-born child to the faces of Mary, Joseph in the background, and two angels, who press forward to witness this cosmic event. As the Christmas reading from John’s Gospel says: ‘The light shines in the darkness, and the darkness did not overcome it.’
Art in focus is curated by Meryl Doney
This article was published in the December 2020 / January 2021 edition of Reform