At the Birmingham Museum and Art Gallery (BMAG), there is an entire room dedicated to the works of Edward Burne-Jones (see, I told you I would mention him again!). In this room hangs a painting especially commissioned for this very gallery. Its name is The Star of Bethlehem, and it is, apparently, the largest watercolour in the world. It is painted on ten papers joined together and measures roughly 2,6 x 3,9 m. What I also found fascinating to study was the technique: in one place, the white in the picture was simply white paint, while in another it was lack of paint, paint having been scraped away, the raw paper – almost breaking – giving a new light to the motif. The detail of the painting in general is fantastic, and I could look at it for ages, constantly finding something new.

“The Star of Bethlehem” (1887-91), Sir Edward Burne-Jones. Birmingham Museum and Art Gallery. Image from BMAG’s website.

The white flowers at the feet of the Madonna are significant and also allude to the painting’s title. The flower is Prussian Asparagus, also known as The Star of Bethlehem.

The Star of Bethlehem. Image from Flower Info.
Star o Bethlehem1
Detail of “The Star of Bethlehem”, where you can see both the technique and the white flowers. Sir Edward Burne-Jones. BMAG.

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