Unless you turn round and become like little children’ Matthew 18.1

Unless you turn round and become like little children’ Matthew 18.1

Scenes from the Gospel of Saint Mark

through the eyes of children.

Saved by Canon Jim Foley

There was a time when people who could neither read nor write depended on images for access to the Word of God. Stained Glass windows served this purpose well and we still find these windows in the great Gothic cathedrals a source of inspiration. The same is true of our more modest churches today.

Before Joannes Gutenberg (1378-1448) got to work on his printing press there was an equally instructive introduction to the Word of God. This took the form of illustrated pages with scenes from the Old and New Testaments engraved on them. These were cheaply produced and could be easily distributed and equally easily discarded. They could be compared to missalettes used in some churches today for the Liturgy of the Word but with illustrations rather than written texts.

Some of these illustrated pages have survived in museums as valued examples of medieval art. At the time they were simply mass-produced and illustrated by engravers working with woodblocks. Today they are valued for their artistic naiveté and craftmanship.

What started off as an almost primitive introduction to the Bible eventually became, in the hands of very talented and sophisticated artists, powerful images.   Perhaps the most distinguished exponent of this skill was Albrecht Dürer (1471 – 1528) whose engravings and etchings of biblical scenes are treasured today.

Those early publications came to be described as Biblia Pauperum, Bibles of the Poor. Today, they are much sought after and would be better described as Biblia Divitum, Bibles of the Rich.

One aspect of their attraction is their utter simplicity and directness. The engravers got to the heart of each scene to be illustrated. To that extent they approached the events with a kind of child-like simplicity; child-like, but far from childish. With this in mind I have selected some children’s’ attempts to illustrate the Gospel of Saint Mark. These are the work young pupils in St Patrick’s Primary, Dumbarton, in 1965! These children are now in their fifties.   I wonder what they would make of them now.

What follows is a selection of their works of art illustrating some of the scenes from the early chapters of the Gospel of Saint Mark. 

To download the above text in PDF click here.

(To view any of the pictures in full size click on the image.

 

 Mark 1.4:
John the Baptist a voice
in the wilderness.

 

Mark 1.6:
John the Baptist with
camel hair coat and belt.

Mark 1.9-11:
Jesus is baptised
in the river Jordan.

Mark 1.9-11:
Jesus confronts Satan
in the wilderness.

Mark 1.9-11:
Jesus banishes Satan

Mark 1.9-11:
Jesus banishes Satan
beside a sinister tree.

Mark 1.9-11:
Angels administer to Jesus
after his ordeal.

 

Mark 1.16-20:
Call of two disciples.

Mark 1.16-20:
Call of even more fishermen
who abandon their nets.

Mark 1.16-20:
Two more vocations
in a hurry to get started.

Mark 1.21-28:
A possessed man healed
in the synagogue.

Mark 1.21-28:
The devil forced to leave
the possessed man in peace.

Mark 1.40-45:
The cure of a leper
outside the city gate.

Mark 1.40-45:
The cure of a leper.

Mark 2.1-12:
Jesus heals
a paralysed man.

Mark 2.1-12:
Jesus forgives his sins.

Mark 2.1-12:
Jesus is challenged
by Scribes and Pharisees.

Mark 2.1-12:
The cure proves that
Jesus has power to forgive.

#
Mark 2.13-17:
Celebrating
the call of Levi.

Mark 1,29-31:
Jesus cures
Simon’s mother-in-law.

Mark 1.29-31:
Simon’s mother-in-law
makes the tea.

Mark 1.35-39:
Jesus went off to a
lonely place to pray.
Mark 3.7-12:
Crowds gather
at the lakeside.
Mark 3.7-12:
More Crowds
at the lakeside.
Mark 3.7-12:
More crowds again
at the lakeside.
 Mark 3.7-12:
More of the same.

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