Yo Day 1: King/Saint Melchior

The 6th of January, generally known as Epiphany, but this year in my house it’s Yo Day. For the Three Kings (especially Saint Melchior) who came to Bethlehem with their gifts, saying (I translate freely), “Yo, baby Jesus! We got some stuff for you!” For Deborah Kass’ statue OY/YO, a version of which was recently installed on the Stanford campus (as announced in today’s Stanford News). And for two raunchy shots of verse inspired by today’s Daily Jocks ad: the supremely unsubtle “Yo, Faggot!” and “Yo, Fucker!”.

One at a time, one at a time. This one is about the old guy with the gold.

From Wikipedia, Melchior presenting the gold to the infant Jesus:

(#1) The Adoration of the Three Kings by Girolamo da Santacroce (painted ca. 1525-1530); the artist (c. 1480/85 – c. 1556) “was a 16th-century Italian painter of the Renaissance period, active mainly in Venice and the Venetian mainland” (from Wikipedia)

Saint Melchior, or Melichior, was purportedly one of the Biblical Magi along with Caspar and Balthazar who visited the infant Jesus after he was born. Melchior was often referred to as the oldest member of the Magi. He was traditionally called the King of Persia and brought the gift of gold to Jesus.

I note here that I am A. Melchior Zwicky. (The whole name is absurdly Swiss, though — except for the Zwicky part — rather quaintly old-fashioned.)

Melchior has of course been imagined in innumerable ways, not all of them old, not all of them hirsute, and attired in virtually every kind of robe (and headgear) you can think of. I’m fond of him in J.C. Leyendecker’s remarkable Saturday Evening Post cover for Christmas 1900 (with Melchior in the middle), reported on in my 1/5/19 posting “Three Kings from 1900”:

(#2) “A portrait of the Magi, the Three Kings (or Wise Men), owing much to Art Nouveau style, and with the artist’s characteristic attention to the physical masculinity of his models”

Next up: Deborah Kass’s OY.


One Response to “Yo Day 1: King/Saint Melchior”

  1. julianne taaffe Says:

    You’re my first and possibly only Melchior!

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