What could the Doctors of Law or Theology or Political science, etc. teach the child-Christ? Nothing, because all their knowledge reduces, belittles Being Christ. It’s putting imperatives (even when the right ones) instead of freedom of critical loving. “Doctors of Law” can only help baby- and child-Christ to physically grow and protect him from self-serving people, but we, regular humans need not only protection from hate and lies and cruelty, but from illiteracy.


Emil Nolde, “Christ and Doctors of the Law” (1)

The clear sky is the background of Nolde’s painting, the clean sky and the absence of sun. The sun, as if, has melted away into the sunlight, and the sunlight, as if, densified in the figure of the Christ-child. It is Christ who irradiates the sunlight onto the world in Nolde’s painting.

The sublime energy of the sunlight symbolizing existential wisdom is so intense that it almost distorts the facial features of the Christ-child, but it’s not the face of the Christ is distorted, but the intensity of the God-Sun’s encouragement of Christ’s life. It is this godly – light-child radiates existential wisdom into the world. The person to the left of Christ is the beneficiary of the main portion of the sun-light radiating from the boy-Christ. It’s not only his face expressing compassion for the child-god and the desire to help him in a dangerous world is a highly important presence in the painting. But also his chest – his soul is radiating a bright sun-light response to the very presence of child-Crist. Between this person and the child we see, as if, an ontological break – as if an invisible wall, which he breaches with his friendly hand inspired by the presence of the godly child and emphasizing the meaning of his presence before the people.

It is amazing to see the intelligence and sensitivity on the faces of the “doctors of the law”! The persons to the right from Christ are sorrowful because they know what kind of future awaits this child, who will grow up to be tortured and crucified. They have the facial expression of those who not only know what a terrifying thing will happen, but why it will happen and who can be motivated to commit the criminal actions to destroy the god-light inside the very human life. These human beings know – the impossible – the crucifixion will happen (a human life becomes too corrupted: impregnated by the credo-creed of consumerist greed and yearning for power and weapons).

Especially the last centuries stimulate in people actions in life instead of search for meaning of life. Feeling of suffering as an emotional ingredient of reaction on life – humility – is subdued by the bombast of the very vulgarity of self-enrichment as a banner-goal. Element of suffering as a part of the background of meaningful actions in life is absent in the existential abyss of emptiness where we joggle coins and grease banknotes, as if, magically multiplying their quantities and value. Casino optimism and gambling bravado become the heartbeat of today’s life.


Emil Nolde, “Christ and Doctors of the Law” (2)

Nolde’s second painting “Christ and Doctors of the Law”, contrary to the previous one (above), although identical to the previous by the title and topic, is rather confusing and challenging us, the viewers. The positive atmosphere has radically changed. No blueness of the sky and no sunlight. Instead we see a chaotically reddishly flaming brown walls of a cave and a monstrous column of light forcing us to imagine that the child-Christ (encircled by the doctors of the law) is in an enclosed space that reminds hell. But the light covering his figure is, as if, a kind of bubble, which somehow, as if enveloping him, while his face is in the shade of darkness of the cave, not in the light. We see that the boy-Christ is reading the white pages (with whiteness as if connected with the hellish light of the moving column of flame in the middle of the painting).

The very facial expressions of the specialists in law don’t (contrary to the scholars in the previous painting) don’t display any signs of their dedication to and compassion for the child-Christ. Rather they are painted negatively, as monstrous caricatures. It looks, that these people surrounding the godly child are… scheming and plotting something – they are trying to use and exploit Him for their own manipulative agenda! The “doctor” to the left of Christ with his thumb pointing at something important for him, and maniacally glassy eyes is, as if, trying to put the child against something. The second personage right behind the child doesn’t even need description – his animalistic rude mug is ambiguously chuckling. The next character in the right upper corner of the painting, as if keeps himself distant. He is “observing” the child-Christ from the distance, as if, to find the right manipulative approach to the situation. And finally the figure with vertically coned head and artificially red lips is trying to seduce the child into a “proper” actions. They’re all trying to coach the boy-Christ into concrete behaviors good for them instead of helping him to grow and form his own impressions about the universe.

The curious fact is that the comparison of scholars in the first and the second Nolde’s paintings reminds us the difference between two kinds of American congressmen who recently participated in the Impeachment Hearings of Pres. Trump. By hearing the public speeches of the democrats we see that the semantic level of their thinking is much higher and much more sincere and objectively oriented than the heated speeches-preaches of the republicans. Democrats are much more rational and non-imposing and uninterested in inflammatory exaggerations – permanent motif of conservatives. Observing the adults figures in the second Nolde’s painting we recognize the hateful, maniacal and pompous republican politicians.

The two paintings of the same master, the same topic and title – and so different semantic elaboration! Indeed, two different worlds. In the first painting the adults love the child-Christ, trying to protect and help him, they admire him and suffer about his future. In the second painting the adults with identical education and profession are only interested in mentally exploiting the child-Christ, in taking advantage of their status in seducing him to serve their own dogmas and intentions. Don’t we all live in this double universe where democratically oriented scholars and writers are trying to help us with their altruistic, objective, disinterested approach to the reality and conservatively oriented specialists trying to propagandize us into their own way of thinking in order to use us according to their own goals.

Nolde understood before us the double nature of our world divided on a more decent people with sincere democratic orientation and the self-centered wealth- and power- oriented conservative manipulators.