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All I want for Christmas is... Paintings!



It’s that time of the year… the weather’s getting colder, the twinkling lights are up and we’re all hunkering down for the festive season.
 
Christmas has, of course, inspired some of the most inspiring masterpieces of all time. From Sandro Botticelli’s Mystic Nativity to Caravaggio’s Christ in the Manger and Paul Gauguin’s Tahitian reworking of this foundational biblical scene, the Christmas story has particularly captivated the artistic imagination.
 
Today, artistic Christmas scenes feature the whole gamut of family life. Snowy landscapes, warm fireplaces and the annual trip to buy the tree all create that warm, fuzzy feeling. In this spirit, we’ve chosen a few ArtMarket Gallery yuletide favourites to get you in the Christmas mood.
 
So put on those classic carols, don that (dubious) jumper and get the mulled wine brewing… It’s time for some Christmas paintings.

A right royal Christmas

For many families, huddling around the television to watch the Queen’s Christmas Day speech is a tradition not to be missed. After the excitement of presents and Christmas lunch, the Queen’s uplifting and inspiring message rings out in living rooms up and down the country.

In Christmas Queen by Paul Oz, the artist borrows some regal glamour for the festive season. Elizabeth II’s iconic profile is depicted in bright greens and reds – with the festive colours used to form a union jack.
 
Known as the “explosive artist”, Paul Oz’s dynamic impasto technique captures the Queen’s likeness in a truly unique way. It brings a distinctive punk excitement to the monarch’s portrait – certainly a courageous Christmas statement!

Snowy scenes

There are many iconic depictions of snowy landscapes in the history of art. From Pieter Bruegel the Elder’s Hunters in the Snow, to Claude Monet’s The Magpie – the transformative power of this sparkling white blanket has fascinated artists throughout the centuries.
 
If you’re dreaming of a white Christmas, then look no further…

Bringing this tradition into the modern age, Leigh Lambert’s city scenes represent the pure childhood joy of stepping out onto a snowy street. The first “crunch” of new snow underfoot and the excitement of a determined snow-ball fight is evident in works such as Sitting Ducks and Ambushed!. Sledging races appear in Winner by a Mile whilst a man narrowly avoids a window-sill snowfall in Look out Mister.


 
Although not such an immediately festive scene, other snowy paintings include Rabbit in a Snowstorm by David Rees. As an artist intrigued by the technique of painting itself, one can see the individual brushstrokes delicately forming the snow-covered cottontail. The rabbit’s inquisitive eyes peer out from the bright white canvas, with the little flecks of snow visible on its whiskers.

Family festivities

Christmas is of course a time for family. Whether it’s getting together around the fire or putting the decorations up – there’s so much to do. Leigh Lambert’s monochromatic backdrops perfectly represent this moment. In It’s Beginning to look a lot like Christmas, the warm illuminations from the terraced houses shine through the snow-clad windows. The vivid green of the Christmas tree and the young children’s red Santa hats are the few pops of colour in this brisk December scene.
 
Paintings such as Home for Christmas also create a wonderful sense of nostalgia – with the two young children running arms out-stretched to greet their father on a snowy Christmas eve. The fully decorated family tree is visible in the warm living room. It’s such an inviting scene, the viewer wants to run inside with them!

Family festivities are also wonderfully brought to life in Alexander Millar’s It’s Christmas Time. With his characteristic sturdy figures walking away from the onlooker – we can see presents stacked up, the father dragging the Christmas tree behind and the three children gleefully waving their brightly coloured paper chains. In a nod to Alexander Millar’s Scottish roots, tartan scarves and head wraps keep the entire unit cosy. Even the dog gets a Santa hat!
 
In a beautiful sketch, the artist zooms in further on the figure carrying a Christmas tree. The Christmas Tree simply presents the large male figure and the individual pine branches with delicacy and dexterity. Accompanied by man’s best friend, the only thing left to wonder is where the duo are headed…



Four legged festive friends

What’s Christmas without a stroll across snow-covered fields, wrapped up in jumpers with the family dog in toe? On the topic of man’s best friend, we couldn’t fail to mention another Christmas favorite – Stephen Hanson.
 
In Snowballs, countless dogs romp around the snow-covered landscape, leaving only tiny paw prints behind them. His typically cheeky canines elicit a truly festive sense of joy and innocence.


 
Despite this, not all Stephen Hanson’s dogs are entirely innocent! In Christmas Dinner, a hilarious scene of Christmas devastation is presented. Split gravy, smashed crockery, turkey, carrots and potatoes are strewn across the dining room floor, whilst the brussel sprouts are in mortal danger on the edge of the table. With a guilty-looking pooch peering out from behind the teetering tablecloth, it’s a scene any dog-owner will be only too familiar with…

Christmas Stars

Last but certainly not least on this yuletide tour is Michelle Mackie’s atmospheric works. As a self-taught photographer and digital artist, Michelle celebrates delving into her own psyche – recreating forgotten joys and sorrows. 

Fallen Star presents a woman in a vivid crimson gown holding a fallen star. It’s been separated from its celestial compatriots dangling precariously in the sky. Whilst this could represent any dark night, it’s unique fairytale magic feels a particularly fitting end to this introduction to the power and beauty of Christmas art. 

So whether it’s Christmas past, present or future, we wish you a very merry festive season!


 
The Artmarket Gallery is an award-winning independent contemporary gallery. Our close-knit, knowledgeable and friendly team pride themselves on connecting people with artwork they truly adore. So whether you’re searching for a bit of Christmas creativity or ringing in the New Year with some new art – browse our artists and get in touch today. We’d love to help.