Holy family, 1631, Jacques Blanchard, Karlsruhe. Staatliche Kunsthalle.
When I lived in Germany, the place I lived in, Karlsruhe, was a small city with a population of about 300,000. Still, in the town center, there is well-equipped cultural infrastructure such as museums, art galleries, zoos, opera houses, and universities, so anyone who wants to can walk from the city within 30 minutes for enjoying civilized life. I lived a cultural life to my heart's content in a place located on the street. Even thinking about it now, I think I was really fortunate.
Kunsthalle was my favorite cultural facility, and it was an art museum run by the city. Every Thursday in Karlsruhe is Culture Day, where admission to all cultural facilities in the city is free, and I made good use of this day. And later, I took a sketching class run by an art museum, and that class is still helping me a lot. The teacher encouraged me a lot, and she said that she thought I was an art student at first. As an Asian, I might have looked a little younger. Then she said, "A person who knows the alphabet and can write can't go back to school to learn the alphabet again. Keep drawing. Make your own picture." I still thanked her for it.
One day, in that sketch class, I see a fascinating drawing.
It is a painting of the family of Jesus.
I was surprised that it was so different from the picture of the Jesus family that I knew.
Most of the sanctifications are holy, and Jesus in them is always calm and mature. At that age, they don't flirt or get into trouble like the average child. From a young age, something different from others is transmitted. Even a round disk, or headlight, always wraps around the head. Mary and Joseph are also gentle, beautiful, and perfect faces that transcend the world. There is no sign of tiredness in taking care of the baby, and she is perfect, literally best mom.
But the picture is described correctly in details.
It was painted in 1631, and I can feel the genius of the painter at that time.
Maria looks tired from taking care of the baby. Her hair is not well-arranged, she has no makeup, and she looks frizzy. The eyes are also slightly swollen. You probably know when you see a mother caring for a baby. And her eyes are always paying attention to her baby touching something dangerous. A mother cannot take eyes off her baby for a minute or a second. You never know what they're going to eat, touch something dangerous, or do something dangerous. So mom is always tired. Jesus in the picture is probably trying to touch the porridge given by dad, Joseph. Ah... he's a genius. Aren't our children like that? When my children were little, when we tried to feed them, it was difficult because they kept touching the bowl or trying to play with the spoon. While Mary is holding her baby, Joseph tries to feed the baby, Jesus. But the baby Jesus takes the spoon and tries to play with it. As you know, a baby loves to play with spoon, he sees himself in the mirror-liked spoon. Joseph has to be careful not to lose the spoon. After all, could baby Jesus successfully eat that bowl of porridge? Could he possibly have stolen a spoon, spilled a bowl, or crushed it? like us
Whenever I have a strangely difficult time, a scene with this painting comes up from the memories in my head and comforts me. And sometimes I complain.
God, the owner of all things, was under the love and care of humans for a short time. Could you remember those times and please show mercy to us when we humans are in such a difficult time?
And strangely, that picture was very comforting to me.
You might think of this picture whenever you feel tired, depressed, and empty in the splendid lives of stars and people shown 24 hours a day on Instagram or the media. Because, in fact, it is our real life. And because that's who we really are. Behind the splendor, there is a hidden pain. Have you ever felt depressed and thought that the visible is all?
I would like to see more works that make the invisible visible, like the painter Jacques Blanchard who painted this picture in 1631.
And I hope that there will be more mature people who know the true meaning and attitude of life to take care of themselves, take care of their surroundings, and take care of society to share their hearts more.
In reality, it is tough to console. How many people in the world can genuinely comfort that person at the level of their eyes? And as life gets busier and tougher, these messages of comfort and love seem to disappear more and more.
Perhaps the French painter is not so different from yours in our lives for today when the message of love and consolation long ago disappears. Couldn't it be that he wanted to comfort him by telling him to be brave and love him?
One hundred years ago, the Spanish Flu ravaged the world for over three years. The Spanish Flu is a flu that first appeared in 1918 and killed between 25 and 50 million people worldwide in two years.
Historic demographer Dr. Svenn-Erik Mamelund attempted to study this. He looked at patients in psychiatric wards in Norway from 1872 to 1929. And they found that the number of hospitalized patients for mental disorders caused by influenza increased 7.2-fold in the six years following the Spanish flu epidemic.
The background of the period from 1918 to 1920, when we were suffering from the aftermath of the war and the Spanish Flu, is in many ways similar to the way we are suffering from the coronavirus today. It can be seen that not only the physical illness caused by Corona but also the psychological and psychological pain must be treated.
We suffered from the coronavirus last year, but this year we got the vaccine again and wanted to return to daily life, but then again, we found out about the existence of the delta mutant virus. Lately, I've heard the ambulance so often that I can't believe it. I am comforted by thinking of a painting by an artist 400 years ago at this time of exhaustion. And I also hope to draw such a picture that can give comfort.
Myungja Anna Koh