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22 December 2021
The Census at Bethlehem by Bruegel (the Elder). “And it came to pass in those days that a decree went out from Caesar Augustus that all the world should be registered… Joseph went to Bethlehem to be registered with Mary, who was with child.” For Bruegel, the event is contemporary, taking place in his native Belgium in the harshest of winters. Mary and Joseph are just two more poor people trudging through the freezing air to queue for this ruthlessly imposed bureaucracy. The only thing that distinguishes them in the general misery and chaos is the proverbial donkey' (here).
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