‘Four things to see this week’ is sponsored by Bloomberg Connects, the free arts and culture app. Bloomberg Connects lets you access museums, galleries and cultural spaces around the world on demand. Download the app here to access digital guides and explore a variety of content.
Each week we bring you four of the most interesting objects from the world’s museums, galleries and art institutions, hand-picked to mark significant moments in the calendar.
While many feel that the festive season begins earlier every year, with supermarket shelves prematurely laden with mulled wine and figgy pudding, for others 8 December always marks the start of the Christmas countdown. In the Catholic faith, this is the Feast of the Immaculate Conception: a holy day during which the sinlessness of the Virgin Mary is celebrated.
Here, we take a look at four works of art and objects that speak of Christmas traditions both sacred and secular.
1. Louis and Lucille Armstrong share a kiss while celebrating Christmas in Japan (1964)
Louis Armstrong House Museum, New York
The jazz legend Louis Armstrong lived in Queens, New York from 1943 until his death in 1971. Thanks to the efforts of his wife Lucille, their house was turned into a museum that displays objects that speak to his life and work – not least some 1,600 records, 650 home recorded reel-to-reel tapes in hand-decorated boxes and some 5,000 photographs. Among the latter can be found this festive snap of the couple, taken while they celebrated Christmas in 1964. Click here to find out more on the Bloomberg Connects app.
2. Adoration of the Magi (1423), Gentile da Fabriano
Uffizi Galleries, Florence
In this ornate altarpiece, Gentile da Fabriano depicts the Magi – also known as the Three Wise Men, or the Three Kings – scrambling to present their gifts of gold, frankincense and myrrh to the infant Jesus. That they come dressed in luxurious garments is to be expected; their entourage of monkeys, camels and lions, however, is rather more surprising. Click here to find out more.
3. Christmas decoration (1937)
The practice of felling a conifer tree and displaying it in one’s home for 12 days in winter is thought to have originated in 16th-century Germany. Many early decorations were designed to hold candles, before glass baubles overtook them in popularity. This paper cut-out of an angel is on display at Skansen, an open air museum in Sweden, as part of a 1930s interior. Click here to find out more.
4. Orbitel television (model TR-005), Panasonic
Carnegie Museum of Art, Pittsburgh
While the Christmas holidays may be the perfect time to catch up with family, they are also a time where we may wish to avoid them. How better to ensure a moment of peace than with a classic Christmas film? This futuristic television set was made by the Japanese company Panasonic in 1970 and can be found in the Carnegie Museum of Art in Pittsburgh. Click here to find out more.
‘Four things to see this week’ is sponsored by Bloomberg Connects, the free arts and culture app. Bloomberg Connects lets you access museums, galleries and cultural spaces around the world on demand. Download the app here to access digital guides and explore a variety of content or scan the QR code.