Last night before I went to bed, three bloggers I read announced they were quitting. I wonder if there's a virus going around or something?
After reading such upsetting and tragic news, my mind turned to Jesus.
This was a strange experience for me, because I'm not a Christian. But I am a hardcore art lover, and Jesus has served as an inspiration for a lot of really good art throughout history. His story, while inspiring to those whose faith is built upon it, has always seemed quite sad to me... the poor guy was given a destiny to die horribly for the sins of the world, and that cannot be an easy burden, even for the son of God. But, like it or not, Jesus accepted what he had to do, and believed his sacrifice was the entire purpose for his being.
The one I really feel sorry for in this story is Mary.
She may have been the vessel for Christianity's savior but, when you set that aside, what she really was is a mother.
A mother who loved her son very much, only to have to watch as he was tortured and killed. I don't care how deep your faith is, this is something that no mother should have to experience. And yet I am reminded of it over and over again as I traverse art galleries around the globe. For the most part, the bulk of this art is divided between the two most significant events in any life... birth and death.
First there's all those images of Madonna and Child. Jesus has just been born and Mary is always depicted cherishing him, just as any mother would feel toward their new baby...
And then there's the pietà, which shows a grief-struck Mary cradling her dead son. I don't care whether you are a Christian or not, this is a powerful and painful image. And no interpretation of this event is more heartbreaking that Michelangelo's masterpiece, La Pietà, which is housed at The Vatican's St. Peter's Basilica...
It's difficult to get from a photo, but the sadness carved into Mary's face is enough to bring a lump to your throat and make your heart ache for her. What could be more tragic?
Certainly not somebody shutting down their blog, but that does make me kind of sad too.
All this talk about Jesus has reminded me of a drawing I created last year for a digital Christmas card that I sent to some of my art friends, but never dared show on my blog... until now...
I always worried that people would see this and think "OH MY GAWD! DAVE THINKS HE'S JESUS!!!" But that was never the intent. I just used Baby Dave to make this interpretation of Madonna and Child my own. As the above text hopefully illustrates, I have the upmost respect for Jesus, Mary, and their story... and this drawing is meant to be an homage, not ridicule. I put a lot of care into creating it, and it's easily one of my favorite DaveToons ever. I'm probably inviting all kinds of hatemail by showing it, but it seems a shame not to share when it means so much to me.
Unlike most interpretations, where Jesus is somber and stoic, I wanted my Madonna and Child to depict baby Jesus as happy and joyful as possible. This was not easy given how crude the drawing is, but I tried my best because I like to think that Jesus was a happy baby. Given his ultimate sacrifice, it would be nice to think that he had a happy childhood... wouldn't it?
Hmmm. I am tired enough that I may actually get a good night's sleep tonight.