Although Brian Kershisnik’s enormous piece Nativity might have a typical name, it’s anything from your traditional nativity scene. This oil painting spans the width of Kershisnik’s entire studio at 17 feet wide and 7 feet tall. The enormity of the project was rather daunting for him. “I had never tried a sacred subject on a monumental scale,” he says, “and it shook me pretty good.”
Kershisnik knew he wanted to take a different spin on the typical nativity scene. Instead of focusing on Mary, Joseph, and the Christ child, he overpowers the scene with crowding angels, waiting to get a glimpse of the miraculous birth.
“I was interested in a subject involving a lot of angels,” he says. “I believe that the births of my own children were very witnessed and populated events, and I decided to try a painting of Jesus’s birth surrounded by a host of angels.”
A concourse of angels isn’t the only unique aspect to this painting. Kershisnik also incorporated two young midwives into the piece to show how women could have helped with the birth. “Nothing seemed more obvious to me in the world than the fact that women would come and help in such a circumstance.”
Through his painting, Kershisnik hopes to convey the humanity of Christ’s birth: “His birth was like yours and mine. He came here into our sweat and blood and milk and mud. Whatever the recorded details of the event may be, He came. And everything depended upon it.”
Purchase Nativity for your home at Deseret Book stores.