Cultural racists and the very politically correct amongst us seem to be preoccupied over what color eyes and what color hair Jesus and Mary had, arguing they had to be dark and Middle Eastern looking. (Nothing wrong with Middle Eastern good looks BTW.) Nevertheless, as I always remind people, fair hair, blue eyes, and a light complexion happens to be an ideal of beauty all ancient cultures attributed to the spiritual world - the highly evolved, divinized soul... Seriously, even indigenous people in the Americas and elsewhere esteemed the blue eyed, fair haired anomaly amongst them, at least as being someone special. Initially the Aztecs mistook the Spaniards as gods because they were white. Artists especially have usually painted saints and angels as fair haired, blue eyed beauties - often because it is a spiritual metaphor for purity and perfection. Fra Angelico provides the best example of that. Nevertheless, contrary to Western prejudice regarding Semites, fair haired, blue eyed Jews are not at all uncommon.
As for Christ and his Blessed Mother looking like Osama bin Laden and Mata Hari - we don't really know, do we? No, we don't - aside from the image on the shroud and other miraculous images, we have no firm evidence. However, it is possible, probable, and quite likely the "Son of David" was fair haired and of ruddy complexion just like his ancestor King David. Take it for what it is worth, but I found some good information on the subject which I will offer for your consideration here:
The physical anthropology of Hebrew peoples.
Ancient Israelites were of mixed physical types that included blondes and red-heads alongside darker ones.Why do we care about this?
The Israelites of old were regarded by the Egyptians as people from the land of Amuru, meaning the land of the Amorites which the Israelites conquered. Another term applied to the general Syrian area was "Retenu". The name "Upper Retenu"1 corresponded to the geographical space encompassed by the Land of Israel, according to the Bible. People from the area known as "Amuru" or "Retenu" after ca.1400 BCE are presumably Israelites. They are depicted on Egyptian monuments as red, blonde, or black-haired with frequent blue eyes and red beards. Illustrations of individuals with this appearance are automatically assumed by Egyptologists to pertain to the Israelite or "Syrian" area. Another blonde blue-eyed people depicted on Egyptian monuments were the so-called "Libyans" and it has now been shown by Alessandra Nibbi (1989) that these were not dwellers of "Libya" but rather of the Nile Delta and of Hebrew origin. - Read more here.
Some bloggers are just having fun, posting ethnic creche scenes to illustrate the diversity amongst Christians, and the sometimes strange, albeit amusing representations from particular folk art traditions. It seems to be part of our holiday festivities and celebration.
Nevertheless, it can be a preoccupation of the adult, the well educated, the terribly sophisticated, the humorist and satirist, and very often the snob filled with the self-esteem of his exquisite taste. On the other hand, little children, and those like them, are fascinated by the Christmas story and its various presentations, which enliven their imagination in faith, and inflame their hearts with love. The Bambino depicted in the creche set attracts the child in all of us.
Art: Madonna and Child from the Neapolitan Creche at the Abbey of Regina Laudis.
Disclaimer: This post has nothing to do with Crescat or LarryD and their posts - it was written in response to a comment I received on one of my paintings.