4. Nativity with Luke 2: 7
Joan Bohlig (1936- )
6 x 6
Christ’s birth is one of the most popular themes throughout the history of art, and Bohlig has created
her own vision of intimate encounter to depict this event. The ox and ass are not mentioned in the
Gospels but traditionally are included in nativity scenes—they come with the manger and illustrate the
humbleness of the Holy Birth. The halo has been used for over a thousand years to designate holiness.
To give continuity and enhance the narrative in the suite of etchings on the birth of Jesus, many items
are purposely repeated: the same clothes and halos; carpenter’s tool bag suggesting the instruments of
the passion; dove representing the Holy Spirit; and sheep representing the “Lamb of God.” The Christ
Child is wrapped in swaddling clothes, or strips of cloth, that again look forward to his death and burial.
Luke 2: 4-7
4So Joseph also went up from the town of Nazareth in Galilee to Judea, to Bethlehem the town of
David, because he belonged to the house and line of David. 5He went there to register with Mary, who
was pledged to be married to him and was expecting a child. 6While they were there, the time came for
the baby to be born, 7and she gave birth to her firstborn, a son. She wrapped him in cloths and placed
him in a manger, because there was no room for them in the inn.