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Bill Thayer

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10"When they saw the star, they rejoiced with exceeding great joy. 11And when they were come into the house, they saw the young child with Mary his mother, and fell down, and worshipped him: and when they had opened their treasures, they presented upon him gifts; gold, and frankincense, and myrrh."

Gospel according to Matthew, ch. 2 (King James Version)

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The artist presents us with Christ as King of the Universe: angels, people, and animals.

The angels, complete in their consciousness of the world and privy to the designs of God, need no salvation and are part of the supporting cast as it were, fully attentive to the scene in front of them. The animals, in their innocence and unconsciousness, need no salvation either: they are all looking away from the Christ Child, but are wonderfully alive.

The focus is on humanity and our torn consciousness: of the three kings who've travelled this far, only one is really paying undivided attention! They do represent us all, though; not, as in our race-conscious and collectivist age, by being portrayed of different ethnicities, but by being shown as young, middle-aged, and old — individual traits every one of us can connect with.

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Page updated: 17 Jun 08