This Christmas, how many grandparents are longing to hug their grandchildren and to feel their hugs in response. In the most natural way, so much is communicated in a touch that words cannot express. The French Christian philosopher, Jean-Louis Chrétien reminds us that the first evidence of the soul is the sense of touch.
Advent and art
The Annunciation is remarkably uncluttered. There is just the Angel and Mary: the Angel in the subtlest of movements towards her and she, wrapped but inclined towards the Angel. These subtle physical gestures carry a quiet intensity of attentiveness. Neither the Angel or Mary speak, yet we are in no doubt that they are communicating.
Even when he paints people in some sort of relationship – at a table, in a lounge or on a bed – there is always a sense of aloneness, space both defining and placing them while emphasising their singularity. His paintings all have the quality of a still-life. In their urban or domestic space, caught in a moment when they are not conscious of us, his people, which could easily be static objects, manage to engage us.