Christmas cards are full of cutesy depictions of nativity scenes, but Leonardo da Vinci, Botticelli and Caravaggio remind us of the death in Jesus’s story
Nativity scenes are the art we see at Christmas, often on cards that put a masterpiece on the mantelpiece. Baby it’s cold outside, so let’s warm our hearts with a bit of Piero della Francesca or Bruegel.
Yet we close our eyes to the reality of this art. We turn Renaissance and baroque paintings into empty kitsch when we appropriate them as part of modern Christmas celebrations, which in truth have little in common with the much more religious world that created these images.