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Showing posts with label The Christmas Story. Show all posts
Showing posts with label The Christmas Story. Show all posts

12.08.2010

The Christmas Story (1998)

Illustrated by Gennady Spirin

Designed by Martha Rago

Tempera, watercolor and pencil on watercolor paper


This is an absolutely gorgeous book which, on first glance, does not appear to be a picture book at all, but is surely a reproduction of classical paintings centered around the birth of the Christ. But this is not the case.

We are told only that Spirin is drawing on his "classical training and his Orthodox Christian faith." Some of the images are in a small box accompanied by a corresponding reading from one of the Gospels, whereas others are a full, double-page spread, the detail and the beauty of which is overwhelming.

My favorite illustration is of the angel visiting the shepherds. It appears as a huge, golden figure, luminous, slowly touching down with outstretched wings. The rest of the picture, by contrast, seems dark and obscure, but a closer look reveals the tiny figures of the shepherds as they cower their eyes and run for cover. The true scale becomes apparent.

For Spirin, the Christmas story is a cosmic one, in which the human players are tiny in comparison with the supernatural.

This review is linked from Tales and Their Tellers 7: "The Prayer of Saint Nicholas."
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