Happy Christmas one and all!

This Christmas Combo is only 2 days late, but the meanings and wonder it points us to are by no means time-sensitive, nor do they have an expiry date!

I saw this painting at the start of the month in the National Gallery of Russian Art in Kyiv, Ukraine. It was mesmerising. I’d never heard of Ivan Shishkin, but he was a master of the natural sublime, and one room had several of his works. He captured the play of sunlight and shadow in all weathers and circumstances. But this, In the Wild North, was a clear standout. It dominated the whole room.

An exact contemporary at the other end of the continent, Christina Rossetti is a perfect partner. The sister of pre-Raphaelite Dante Gabriel Rossetti and daughter of Italian exiles, she painted with words. I didn’t know this simple verse but encountered it on Malcolm Guite’s wonderful blog. Now that is a website worth a subscription or at least regular visits.

Every blessing for the Christmas season and a very happy 2018!

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