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by Jean Frémon translated by Cole Swensen


A newborn baby in a stable open to the four winds, in the deep of night, in the dead of winter. His mother is warmly covered—even in Palestine it is cold at Christmas—but she leaves her child naked on the straw. . . We have become accustomed to finding this natural. 


One painter, followed by many others, is at the origin of this image. In the Gospel and in the wall paintings of churches before 1360, the infant Jesus is represented in his swaddling clothes. Why, at the dawn of the Reformation, are they suddenly removed, leaving Jesus bare?


Louise Bourgeois, who was also born on a December 25th, has accompanied this somewhat iconoclastic Christmas tale in her own particular way. 


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