Tricky artist. The “weight” of the picture is to your right even while Jesus is shining out from the midst of the middle, leaving the left side a bit “unweighted”, a bit empty, so that you have to do the work to fill in what’s missing… which you find… who you find… by following Mary’s eyes. She looks so content to watch him – surely Joseph – say, gathering vittles on their trip to Bethlehem for the census. Meanwhile, the donkey continues to lumber along peacefully, eager to hear the slightest whisper from Mary.
G.K. Chesterton’s poem “The Donkey” is a bit sharp, in contrast, and refers to another donkey who brought Jesus into Jerusalem for His crucifixion, when there were shouts about the donkey’s ears, and palms beneath his feet.
Should there be a poem written about this donkey, pictured above, I’m imagining that it would have to show the contrast between this more peaceful moment on the way to Bethlehem and then, shortly thereafter, a hasty fleeing through the desert into exile into, ironically, an enemy country.
[Various readers are sending in donkeys. Thanks for that.]