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Moses Myers House

323 E. Freemason St.
Open Saturday and Sunday

Noon–5 p.m.

Jean Outland Chrysler Library

Reading Room
Currently closed

About the Myers House

The oldest Jewish home in America open to the public as a museum offers a glimpse of the life of an early 19th century merchant family.
More about the house

About the Library

With an extensive collection of more than 106,000 rare and unique volumes relating to the history of art, the Jean Outland Chrysler Art Library is one of the most significant art libraries in the South. More about the library

Located in Norfolk

One Memorial Place,
Norfolk, VA
Get Directions

While You're Here

Visit our Museum Shop
and the Wisteria Cafe.

Perry Glass Studio

A state-of-art facility on the Museum’s campus. See a free glassmaking demo Tuesdays–Sunday at noon. Like what you see? Take a class with us! More about the Studio

Moses Myers House

The home of the first permanent Jewish residents of Norfolk, this historic house offers a glimpse of the life of a wealthy early 19th-century merchant family.
More about the house

Jean Outland Chrysler Library

With an extensive collection of more than 106,000 rare and unique volumes relating to the history of art, the Jean Outland Chrysler Library is one of the most significant art libraries in the South. More about the Library

Wedding & Event Rentals

The perfect place for your big day or special event. Get the details

In-person Tours

Group tours are available for groups of 20 or fewer. More about tours

Jean Outland Chrysler Library

Visit one of the most significant art libraries in the South. More about the library

About the Chrysler

Our story spans well over 100 years. See where we began, how we grew, and where we're going. Explore our history

News and Announcements

See what's happening at the Museum, read Chrysler Magazine, and find our Media Center. Read now

Location

745 Duke Street
Norfolk, VA 23510
757-333-6299

Always Free Parking

Get Directions

Third Thursdays

Live art performances monthly.
See the archive

Studio Team

Meet the brilliant minds behind the Studio.
See the team

Visiting Artist Series

Bringing the world’s top glass art talent to Hampton Roads
Find out more

Give the Chrysler Experience

Share everything you love about the Chrysler Museum with a gift membership. Perfect for everyone on your list.

The Masterpiece Society

Learn about this innovative group of museum supporters.
Meet the Masterpiece Society

Planned Giving

Help ensure the long-term success of the Museum.
Learn about planned giving

Moses Myers House

323 E. Freemason St.
Open Saturday and Sunday

Noon–5 p.m.

Jean Outland Chrysler Library

Reading Room
Currently closed

About the Myers House

The oldest Jewish home in America open to the public as a museum offers a glimpse of the life of an early 19th century merchant family.
More about the house

About the Library

With an extensive collection of more than 106,000 rare and unique volumes relating to the history of art, the Jean Outland Chrysler Art Library is one of the most significant art libraries in the South. More about the library

Located in Norfolk

One Memorial Place,
Norfolk, VA
Get Directions

While You're Here

Visit our Museum Shop
and the Wisteria Cafe.

Perry Glass Studio

A state-of-art facility on the Museum’s campus. See a free glassmaking demo Tuesdays–Sunday at noon. Like what you see? Take a class with us! More about the Studio

Moses Myers House

The home of the first permanent Jewish residents of Norfolk, this historic house offers a glimpse of the life of a wealthy early 19th-century merchant family.
More about the house

Jean Outland Chrysler Library

With an extensive collection of more than 106,000 rare and unique volumes relating to the history of art, the Jean Outland Chrysler Library is one of the most significant art libraries in the South. More about the Library

Wedding & Event Rentals

The perfect place for your big day or special event. Get the details

In-person Tours

Group tours are available for groups of 20 or fewer. More about tours

Jean Outland Chrysler Library

Visit one of the most significant art libraries in the South. More about the library

About the Chrysler

Our story spans well over 100 years. See where we began, how we grew, and where we're going. Explore our history

News and Announcements

See what's happening at the Museum, read Chrysler Magazine, and find our Media Center. Read now

Location

745 Duke Street
Norfolk, VA 23510
757-333-6299

Always Free Parking

Get Directions

Third Thursdays

Live art performances monthly.
See the archive

Studio Team

Meet the brilliant minds behind the Studio.
See the team

Visiting Artist Series

Bringing the world’s top glass art talent to Hampton Roads
Find out more

Give the Chrysler Experience

Share everything you love about the Chrysler Museum with a gift membership. Perfect for everyone on your list.

The Masterpiece Society

Learn about this innovative group of museum supporters.
Meet the Masterpiece Society

Planned Giving

Help ensure the long-term success of the Museum.
Learn about planned giving

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December 22, 2020

Romare Bearden’s Tidings

–Kimberli Gant, PhD, McKinnon Curator of Modern and Contemporary Art

“Tidings” isn’t a big part of everyday English language today, but the word always resurfaces during the holiday season. We find it in several beloved Christmas songs, including “We Wish You a Merry Christmas” and “God Rest Ye Merry Gentlemen.” This holiday season, you’ll find it in the Chrysler Museum’s galleries. Romare Bearden’s Tidings is featured in our special exhibition, Come Together, Right Now! The Art of Gathering.

Romare Bearden (American, 1911-1988), Tidings, ca. 1970, Screenprint on wove paper, Chrysler Museum of Art, 0.3980

In Tidings, Bearden illustrates an angel who appears to deliver important news. Presumably, this is the Annunciation story, where the Archangel Gabriel tells Mary she is to conceive and give birth to Jesus. In this abstract representation, the artist illustrates the angel with a yellow halo and wings. Without the presence of hair, it is hard to tell if the other figure is Mary. However, there is a large bulge in the stomach area, suggesting that Mary is the recipient of the news.

Tidings focuses on the notion that Gabriel’s news was joyous. The word “tidings” has a long history in relation to Christianity and Christmas. During the holiday season, a person may hear the phrase “good tidings” or “glad tidings,” meaning “good news or information.” The word also appears in Luke 2:10 of the King James Bible: “Fear not: for behold, I bring you good tidings of great joy, which shall be to all people.” The verse tells the story of an angel that comforts Mary and Joseph on the night of Jesus’ birth. Beyond Bearden’s visual interpretation of “tidings,” the word dates back to the thirteenth-century Norse word “tiðendi,” which also means “news” according to the Macmillian dictionary. It was later incorporated into Old English, with the word “tidan,” which means “to happen.”[i]

Tidings was one of several Biblical scenes Bearden created throughout his career. His most famous work from this theme is The Visitation[ii] from 1941 at the Museum of Modern Art. He depicts a quiet, intimate moment between two women. As the title suggests, it is a visitation between the Virgin Mary and her cousin Elizabeth. In older paintings of the same scene, both women are presented as either pregnant[iii] or with their children[iv]—Mary with Christ and Elizabeth with St. John the Baptist. Both pregnancies were miracles since Mary was a virgin and Elizabeth was much older and past child-bearing age.[v] In Bearden’s painting, the pregnancies are not visible and the focus is more upon the relationship between the two women.

Although Bearden devoted much of his career to presenting themes from the Bible, he was known for abstract collages of African American life. He often depicted figures in rural settings, referencing his family’s origins in North Carolina. During the Great Migration of African Americans from southern to northern states, Bearden’s parents moved him from North Carolina to New York.

Tidings on view in Come Together, Right Now through January 3, 2020

See Tidings and more than 100 other works drawn from the Chrysler Museum’s collection in Come Together, Right Now, on view through January 3.  Four themes–Together in Celebration, Together in Purpose, Together in Justice, and Together in Love—display the many ways artists explore the joys and complexities of “coming together” and showcase how communities are linked by activities, celebrations, demonstrations, love, and family.

 

 

[i] https://www.macmillandictionaryblog.com/tidings

[ii] https://www.moma.org/collection/works/180915?classifications=any&date_begin=Pre-1850&date_end=2020&q=Romare+Bearden&utf8=%E2%9C%93&with_images=1

[iii] https://www.wga.hu/html_m/w/weyden/rogier/17other/3visitat.html

[iv] https://chrysler.emuseum.com/objects/10893/holy-virgin-and-child-elizabeth-and-saint-john?ctx=7ac0fc08-cf77-45c9-be5f-f4fd3bdf3786&idx=0

[v] https://www.moma.org/explore/inside_out/2015/04/22/a-homecoming-for-romare-beardens-the-visitation/

From the Collection