Monday, March 12, 2007

the marriage feast at cana

Brueghel is the ever bewildering Normand painter—but for that, the surprises reward. Here, for example: Christ is seated at the marriage table and it seems, though he's not next to the bride, that he is the bridegroom. The man to his right is a priest, and the two wings of the table symbolize the male and female being brought together. Both Christ and the bride are surrounded on each side with patrons, a sign that for the 2 young people this is a rite of passage. What intrigues me most about this painting is that the transformation of the water into wine happens in Christ's presence but not at his touch. He does it from a distance. Mind over matter. Wearing a luminous robe in the background, Christ makes the sign of holiness. Is this the sign that turned the water into wine?

The focus is on the figure in the foreground, a servant wearing an apron. He has just witnessed a miracle—and he is bowing.


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