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Ania Kaczynska 12 July 2023
min Read22 December 2021
In the spirit of the festive season, our gift to you is the 12 days of Christmas retold in artworks. The Twelve Days of Christmas is a carol with roots in 18th century England, heavy with symbolism and tradition. One theory is that The Twelve Days of Christmas was a child’s game about remembering verses and another is that it connects to a time when practicing Catholicism was forbidden. Each verse reminds Catholics about their beliefs meaning they could express their faith through a secret song. Either way, it’s a jolly yuletide hit and as we’re all art lovers here is a mixed-bag visual rendition.
The doves, who knew, are symbolic of the old and new testaments. In honor of them, here is Banksy’s dove in armor in Bethlehem, Palestine.
The hens remind us of the three Christian virtues of Faith, Hope, and Love. For art history lovers, let’s remember the graces of Greco-Roman mythology who are forever being put into artworks.
A collie is essentially a black bird, and the general idea on day four is to remember the four gospels. But, for our purposes, let’s look at Tracey Emin’s marvelous installment of bronze birds in Sydney. The seventy life-size bird sculptures jewel the city and encourage flânerie.
This seems a little strange, but apparently, the rings are the first five books of the Old Testament. To celebrate this, why not check out Chagall’s illustrated bible or make the tenuous link to some ladies dancing in a ring…
The six days of Creation, of course! Here are a feisty goose and some ducks, all braving it out in some gloomy weather.
The seven swans are the seven gifts of the Holy Spirit: wisdom, knowledge, counsel, fortitude, understanding, piety and fear of God. That’s quite a lot of swans, so let’s just stick to looking at two lovely specimens in the sketchbook of none other than Turner.
Our nine ladies are meant to represent the fruits of the holy spirt, and to go with that here is a Lady with Fruit.
You guessed it (maybe): the ten commandments. So here’s a fun image of Moses receiving them.
Our musical pipers are the eleven faithful (aka not Judas) apostles. Thus, we bring you a a not so faithful rendition of a pipe (the non musical kind), which you can read more about here.
Finally, our drummers are meant to be the 12 points in the apostle’s creed. If you’re not sure what those are, here is an illuminated manuscript that tells you.
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