Today's Gospel in Art - The feeding of the five thousand

The Feeding of the Five thousand, by Joachim Patinir 1510, © Monasterio de El Escorial, Spain

The Feeding of the Five thousand, by Joachim Patinir 1510, © Monasterio de El Escorial, Spain

Gospel of 7th January 2020

As Jesus stepped ashore he saw a large crowd; and he took pity on them because they were like sheep without a shepherd, and he set himself to teach them at some length. By now it was getting very late, and his disciples came up to him and said, 'This is a lonely place and it is getting very late. So send them away, and they can go to the farms and villages round about, to buy themselves something to eat.' He replied, 'Give them something to eat yourselves.' They answered, 'Are we to go and spend two hundred denarii on bread for them to eat?' 'How many loaves have you?' he asked. 'Go and see.' And when they had found out they said, 'Five, and two fish.' Then he ordered them to get all the people together in groups on the green grass, and they sat down on the ground in squares of hundreds and fifties. Then he took the five loaves and the two fish, raised his eyes to heaven and said the blessing; then he broke the loaves and handed them to his disciples to distribute among the people. He also shared out the two fish among them all. They all ate as much as they wanted. They collected twelve basketfuls of scraps of bread and pieces of fish. Those who had eaten the loaves numbered five thousand men.

Reflection on the Painted Panels

Patinir was a pioneer of landscape painting as an independent genre within the arts. Very few painters before him explored landscape painting. Our painting dated circa 1510, is one of the first paintings in Western art that fully explores to power of such landscapes. In a way, the feeding of the five thousand in the lower third of the panel is only secondary to the vast views that are depicted.

To read on see:

Tags: Christian Art Today, Patrick van der Vorst, Joachim Patinir

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