Friday, May 2, 2008

Joyful mystery

Click on the photo for a larger image.

This painting of the Nativity is in the collection of Rev. Dan Clarke, an Anglican priest in Charleston, S.C., who acquired it from St. Anselm's Abbey in Washington, D.C. From whence did St. Anselm's acquire it? Thereby hangs a tale.

The story goes that the painting was among several shipped from the Vatican in 1964 to be displayed at the World's Fair in Flushing Meadows-Corona Park, Queens, N.Y., in the Vatican Pavilion—which also showcased the Pieta. After the fair ended in 1965, while the Pieta returned to its home in Rome, the paintings were left unclaimed and somehow ended up at St. Anselm's.

The friend of Father Clarke who sent me this photo tells me that it is hand-painted and appears to be hundreds of years old. Other facts about it, including the artist's name and whether it is the original or a copy, are a mystery. Perhaps a knowledgeable Dawn Patrol reader could solve it?