Essay / Avant-Garde

Illuminated Manuscript w/Dragon

The church bulletin featured a photomontage based on Jean-Francois Millet’s 1857 painting The Angelus. But Freddy Age Ten, perhaps influenced by the recent craze for street art, added a little something.

The average viewer thinks of this descending dragon as a menacing presence, perhaps as extra motivation to pray harder. Perhaps he is one of the “spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly places.” But when this dragon is viewed in the context of the artist’s other works (a voluminous and ongoing exploration of all things dragonish), it seems more likely that this is a playful dragon, perhaps even the pet of this pious couple, joining them for family devotions. Freddy Age Ten pays very close attention to the size and posture of each dragon, and this one is small in stature, playful in approach. If the artist had intended to convey a sense of imminent danger, he would have done so unambiguously.

Meanwhile, Phoebe Age Eight used the “sermon notes” page of the bulletin to continue her investigation of feline form by sketching about four dozen gymnastical cats.

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