Christmas Special: Symbolism

Wednesday, December 17, 2008

Symbolism has always played an important role in Christian and Renaissance paintings, so this week I present a fun fact regarding that phenomenon.

Did you know that the pelican has a profound meaning in Christian symbolism? It may seem counter-intuitive to use such an ungainly bird for anything of the sort, the pelican has often been used by Christians as a symbol of charity (love thy neighbor) because the bird will feed its own blood to its offspring if necessary. Now that's devotion to giving of thyself.

In this time when there is financial upheaval, starvation, and terrorism stalking the land, we could all take a lesson from the giving nature of the pelican and the keen observation of the natural world that led to its adoption as a symbol for the value of giving.

I hope we can all celebrate the act of giving no matter what form it takes or what religion you practice this holiday season.

(The above picture is a detail of Bosch's Adoration of the Magi.)


AltheaP said...

Gotta love Bosch. Don't you wish you had all of these?

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