Sunday, December 25, 2011

In the Bleak Midwinter


"In the bleak midwinter, frosty wind made moan,
Earth stood hard as iron, water like a stone;
Snow had fallen, snow on snow, snow on snow,
In the bleak midwinter, long ago.

"What can I give Him, poor as I am?
If I were a shepherd, I would bring a lamb;
If I were a Wise Man, I would do my part;
Yet what I can I give Him: give my heart.
--------
From "In the Bleak Midwinter" by Christina Rosetti
"Winter" (with detail) by Ivan Shishkin (1832-1898)
Painted in 1890, 124 x 204cm, State Russian Museum (more Shishkin images)
Thanks, Tim Adkins for the photos

11 comments:

Sara Silkwood said...

That is an awesome poem and an amazing painting! Merry Christmas, Mr. Gurney!

My Pen Name said...

Merry Christmas James and all GJ readers.

Sara the poem is a carol written by poet Christina Rosssetti - the painter's sister - as a young women she posed for his Annunciation painting:

Ethe annuciation

Here is a beautiful rendition of the carol:

In the Bleak MidWinter

http://www.bbc.co.uk/bbcfour/paintingflowers/full_res
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xRobryliBLQ/annunciation_rossetti.shtml

youngstudios said...

Merry Christmas James Gurney!!

James Gurney said...

Thanks, Pen, for those links and that background.

And Merry Christmas, Sarah, Stephanie, and all the GJ blog readers who do Christmas.

Roberto said...

Merry Christmas to all the Gurneys and all the Journeyers. The Mrs. and I would especially like to thank Dan Gurney the younger for his beautiful button accordion music. Santa left the CD in my stocking and we've been enjoying all day--a very special Christmas present indeed! Thanks for the Journey.--RQ

Steve said...

And here's another poem this painting evokes for me:

Suppose we did our work
like the snow, quietly, quietly,
leaving nothing out.

--- Wendell Berry

Thanks for another year of Gurney Journey. It does its work quietly and seems to leave nothing out.

The Surfin' Squid said...

Wishing you a very Merry Christmas and another year full of awesomeness.

Your books were my most prized present under the tree this year, and I've spent the day indulging myself once more in the magic, the wonder, and the glory of Dinotopia--this time around, appreciating it from a technical art perspective as well as the sheer conceptual genius. I almost think it's something to be grateful for that the original book slipped out of my ownership for so many years, as I was able to look at it afresh today and had the wonderful dual feeling of remembrance and discovery come over me, almost as if my reading the book in my childhood had been merely some half-remembered dream that I had now discovered the reality to. I've fallen in love with Dinotopia all over again. My friend and I spent some time going on about Dinotopia--she'd want to work in the Waterfall City library and I'd probably be a wandering dinosaur-hugger. (I have yet to delve into Imaginative Realism, but I'm sure it'll be packed with valuable information and stunning illustrations.)

Thanks so much for all of your hard work and brilliant imagination.

James Gurney said...

Roberto, I passed on your nice comments to Dan, and he was thrilled to hear it.

Steve, I love Wendell Barry's writing, because it's so grounded and uplifting at the same time.

And Surfin' Squid, Wow! I am deeply touched by your beautiful expression of reconnecting with Dinotopia. I'm glad to know that looking behind the curtain didn't take away from the wonder of it. May your journeys bring you to wonderful places.

Torbjörn Källström said...

I love Ivan Shishkin. He paints realistic landscapes yet he somehow manages to infuse a lot of romanticism into them.

Merry X Mas :)

Brandon Miltgen said...

Thanks for the message. Very poignant and appropriate with that art.

Random York said...

Late "Merry Christmas" to you and your family Jim!-John