On Art

Jesus Feeds the Hungry, by Milen Litchkov

Almost 1,200 years of Eastern Christian culture are represented in this tinted drypoint by Milen Litchkov. In small, richly detailed prints on biblical themes, the Bulgarian graphic artist pays homage to the illuminators of ancient Gospel manuscripts and the miniaturist iconographers of his Balkan homeland, which converted to Christianity in the ninth century, adding his own humorous touches of contemporary caricature.

Traditional images of Jesus feeding the hungry, based on the Gospel narratives of the multiplication of the loaves and fish, usually show seated multitudes, waiting for the disciples to distribute the miraculous meal. In Litchkov’s variation on the theme, the hungry receive something to eat directly from the hands of Christ. This is not just material sustenance from a little boy’s lunch box broken and shared many times over but the bounty of heaven brought down by angels for a eucharistic feast. The motley crowd partaking of the divine food shows God to be no respecter of persons. All are welcome, if they are willing to wait with others in line. Says Litchkov: “Christ is ready to nourish and care for everyone. Just as he made his way to us, we must overcome our pride and make our way to him.”