Baby Jesus and Mary at the Virginia Museum on Christmas Day

Posted at 5:48 PM, Dec 26, 2014

RICHMOND -- As the sun set on a glorious Christmas, many of us ventured out to celebrate the day. Some came to the Virginia Museum of Fine Arts to be with family or old friends or to soak up the well-known beauty here.

It is a place where the birth of Jesus Christ and his mother Mary are celebrated in art through more than six centuries.

One 1712 Italian depiction in the museum’s collection was the subject of a 1996 U.S. stamp, one of countless similar mailed depictions from countries around the world.

It is, after all, one of the most depicted events in the history of art.

We visited with several patrons checking out one of the museum’s newest gems, “The Visitation,” by Italian Mattia Preti, painted in the 1640s.

It depicts a pregnant Mary with her cousin Elizabeth, who would soon give birth to the child who became John the Baptist. The painting, which debuted at the VMFA on Christmas Eve, captures the moment that Mary and Elizabeth share the word that Mary was carrying the son of God, as described in Luke 1:42.

But you could spend a day looking at the depictions of Mary and baby Jesus.

There are sculptures 700 years old and paintings dating back to the 1470s.

It was a fine way to celebrate Christmas on a beautiful day in Richmond.