A charming 15th century view of St. Joseph
Today is the transferred Feast of St. Joseph. Yesterday, a Sunday in Lent, “outweighed” the feast. St. Joseph has many titles in his beautiful litany. We will sing them tonight after our Pontifical Mass at the Throne. Joseph is the Foster-father of the Son of God, Protector of Holy Church, Glory of domestic life.
Speaking of “Glory of domestic life”, I recently saw at the Metropolitan Museum in NYC a marvelous French 15th century limestone relief with painting and gilding produced by the circle of Antoine Le Moiturier (+ c. 1497).
There are charming elements which reveal the devotion of the maker.
There are several area which deserve attention. First, on earth, St. Joseph is on the right, warming the little Lord’s coverlet before the fire.
Angels are lending a hand: they make the Infant Jesus’ bed.
Meanwhile, shepherds have scaled a nearby tree. They peer in over the broken wall and crumbled woodwork. They scrabble over each other for a good look.
In the center, an angel has raised the Lord up to the loft or rooftop. He seems to be changing Jesus, while He plays with the muzzle of a curious critter. The other beast seems either to want to help or she is trying to eat the blanket.
On the left, more angels enthusiastically watch. One of them, perhaps our designated representative in the scene, prays, overwhelmed, as we should be.
The Mother of God serenely gazes upward towards the domestically challenged angel and her Son.
Simply superb. There is a lot packed into this little scene, which is about a foot and a half wide.
Great love made this.