January 6, 2023, the Epiphany
The Magi have returned home, both comforted and discomfited after their journey to find Jesus.
Journey of the Magi, 1927.
T.S. Eliot, Anglo-American, 1888-1965
One of the Magi is speaking.
The Journey of the Magi, c.1433-35, tempera and gold on wood.
Sassetta (Stefano di Giovanni), c. 1400-1450), Italian, Siena, Cortona). Metropolitan Museum of Art, NY from whose website this photo
He expresses how hard can be the initiation into and how solitary the continuing discipline of the spiritual journey.
The Adoration of the Magi, 1440-1460, tempera on panel.
Fra Angelico, 1395-1455; and Fra Filippo Lippi, 1406-1459, Florence, Italy. National Gallery of Art, Washington, DC
It is not always or often a walk through a garden of fragrant roses.
Adoration of the Magi and detail, early 1500’s.
Hieronymus Bosch, c.1450-1516, Netherlandish. Philadelphia Museum of Art
But, he recognizes that the journey is essential.
The Three Wise Men, 1991, glass beads, plastic cylinders, cotton, epoxy, plywood.
Jimoh Buraimoh, Nigerian born 1943. Baltimore Art Museum.
Beadwork, the museum notes, has a long tradition as an embellishment technique among the Yoruba.
Here, at a time of immense turmoil in Nigeria in the 1990s, the artist portrays, as the Three Wise Men, the three men who negotiated the independence of Nigeria from the British in 1960 after a hundred years of alien governance:
Al-Haji Ahmadu Bello, the Sardauna of Sokoto, 1909-1966; Nnamdi Azikiwe, 1904-1996; Abafemi Awolowo, 1909-1987
He would not forego it, for its essential aid to the living of his life;
whose death he knows is coming;
even if sometimes he longs for that death,.