Saturday, July 26, 2008

Saints Joachim and Anne

Giotto di Bondone. Meeting at the Golden Gate. c.1305. Capella degli Scrovegni, Padua.

Now on the new calendar, to-day is enjoined for both parents of the Mother of God, Joachim and Anne, Mary’s parents. It comes as a surprise to the Orthodox, to the Catholic, that some others who believe in Jesus do not know, that, the people who interacted with Jesus had names; even to the point, that, these people even existed. Certainly they must have. Their only arrow in the quiver is they have never read their names in the New Testament. They have not read their own names in the Bible, either. Ancient non-canonical writings and traditions tell us their names.

In Giotto’s fresco, with a kiss and embrace, the aged couple share and celebrate, the news of their child's upcoming birth, at a gate to the city of Jerusalem. Their solid, and not very articulated bodies, nearly form a triangle; for there are three there. The two bodies, faces and nimbuses also merge. Foremost, the picture shows: warmth and tenderness.

There is an undeniable sweetness. The kiss is rare in sacred iconography. A more well known kiss painted by Giotto, is that of the treacher Judas. But how opposite they are, love and birth as opposed to betrayal and death.

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