Visio-Novena: Art, Reflection and Prayer with St. Joseph

Day 7: Relieved yet still anxious, that gnawing feeling.


DAY 7, March 17: Relieved yet Still Anxious

William Holman Hunt’s rich symbolism depicting the Lost and Finding of the Savior at the Temple may overwhelm. Everything, save for the blind man by the entrance is ornately painted.  It’s a buffet of symbols and iconography and is therefore tempting to binge at each of them. I shall focus on the essentials. 
What’s behind the ornate-ness?  Hunt traveled to the Mid-East to study the faces, clothing, cultural objects which might have been common to the world of Jesus (Eschrich, 2006).  The ornate clothing of the rabbis and the Holy Family shrewdly guide viewers to focus on their social locations and their facial expressions.  The rabbis’ robes connote teaching authority in the temple, while the peasant clothes of the Holy Family argue that they are not mainstays at the richly gilded interior of the temple. The tattered clothes of the blind…

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