I made a rod for my own back when I decided to post an ‘inspirational’ picture for Christmas Day. After 10 minutes of research I was determined not to post anything clichéd or cheesy or too bloody cheery. Hours later I also wanted to avoid snow and felt queasy when I saw the colour red . Then I found this painting by Moscow hyper realist artist Dmitri Annenkov and knew it was the right one, even though there are touches of red. Mind you, they are crucial because they lift the emotional temperture and I didn’t want to go to the other life-is-awful extreme.
I like the picture because there is no snow, but plenty of weather. In most parts of the UK it is more likely to rain than to snow on Christmas Day and that’s probably always been true. We owe all our snowy Christmas scenes to Charles Dickens’ childhood memories – apparently he was born at the start of an uncharacteristic and short-lived period of cold English winters.
I like the picture because, if you’re not staring into the inside of an oven, quite a lot of time during the day can be spent looking out of a window: watching for visitors, or in a car on your way to being a visitor somewhere else, or simply lost in thought gazing out at strangely quiet streets.
And I like it because there’s nothing to suggest it is a special day, any special-ness comes from the onlooker, and it could be of almost anywhere north of the equator. (The actual title is Rain in the Tavern, Norway.) Plenty of people spend today on their own, perhaps because it’s not a holiday that has any significance, perhaps because they can’t be with the people they want to be with and it doesn’t hurt to be reminded that it is just one day. I also enjoy the idea of a hyper realist artist choosing to paint an obscured scene.
In whatever way you are spending Christmas Day, through choice or necessity, have a good one.