Happy Mother’s Day!

Fontenay Nativity

This lovely fragment, probably from the main altar at Fontenay, depicts the Nativity in a remarkably different way.

Ox and ass watch over the Child as a typically aged, infirm Joseph dozes on his crutch. But look at this Mary. Bégule describes her as

reposing on a bed, her right arm gracefully folded beneath her head.

Well, she’s on a bed all right. But there’s nothing “gracieuse” about her posture.

Fontenay Nativity

That’s not repose. That’s exhaustion.