Joseph of Nazareth: Best Supporting Actor. The Quiet Man Behind the Christmas Crib and His Changing Face in Art

Wednesday 4 December 2019

Amina Wright

Amina Wright is a curator of historic art collections and exhibitions. As Curator of Fine Art and Senior Curator of the Holburne Museum in Bath, she was a key member of the team that delivered the museum’s highly successful redevelopment. She has produced a number of major exhibitions on 18th century British Art and Old Masters, and published and lectured widely in these areas. She has also worked as a collections and interiors curator for English Heritage and for the National Trust, among others. Amina is currently studying for an MA in Christianity & the Arts at King’s College London.

The figure of Mary’s husband Joseph is familiar from Christmas cards, carols, cribs and nativity plays, yet in the Bible he never speaks a word. It took many centuries for the quiet carpenter to emerge from humble obscurity and for artists to make his image visible. This lecture explores the many legends and faces of Joseph through the ages, from wizened old man to powerful guardian. Come and discover the hidden depths in that simple bearded figure on your Christmas cards; but please remember that although this lecture may be particularly appropriate for December meetings, Joseph is for life, not just for Christmas.


Caption: The Nativity – the adoration of the Christ-child by Mary and St. Joseph – miniature from folio 066r from the Book of Hours of Simon de Varie (public domain)


The notes for this lecture can be downloaded here

Below are some photos of this lecture