More from the mighty pen of Daniel Mitsui

From time to time I post about art from Daniel Mitusi, the talented Catholic artist who has worked under the inspiration of the Medieval period as well as Japanese prints. He gets proper inculturation.

You may recall that his little daughter has spent quite a bit of time in the hospital.  You know what that means.

Here are a couple more pieces which he sent recently.

The first is a treatment of a psalm.    HERE



I was especially amused by the rabbits, which multiply along the decorative margin.




The second is an ink drawing of the dream of Joseph when the angel reveals Herod’s plot and tells the Holy Family to flee to Egypt.  The image of what the angel wants is depicted on the raised fan.  Very cool.



Marvelous.  And there is a reference to the cherry tree.  HERE



His site is HERE.  Please visit.

Speaking of the cherry tree, recently when I was in Washington DC, I saw the exhibit of images of Mary. They had a well-known Barocci on loan from the Vatican Museum of the Rest on the Flight into Egypt. Joseph, with a beautiful smile, hands the diminutive Lord a branch with cherries.


About Fr. John Zuhlsdorf

Fr. Z is the guy who runs this blog. o{]:¬)
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  1. WmHesch says:

    It’s not a “line from one of the Psalms”- it’s the entire (albeit short) 133rd psalm with the minor Doxology.

  2. Theodore says:

    Rabbits are part of Traditional Japanese heraldry and are featured in several kamon.

  3. gramma10 says:

    Interesting. Talented artist. Not my style but I appreciate the detail. Thank you for sharing.

  4. iamlucky13 says:

    If you like the melding of eastern and western artistic concepts, I’ve been fascinated by the work of Giuseppe Castiglione (also known as Lang Shih-ning) since I first saw one of his color ink drawings on temporary exhibit at a local museum.

    He was an Italian lay Jesuit sent to China. As I understand it, the Jesuits already there thought having an artist would help gain some attention at the emperor’s court. He used traditional Chinese media and colors, but introduced western styles of portrayal, as well as used perspective and chiaroscuro to add depth that Chinese paintings typically lacked or showed only in limited form. I guess the emperor was really impressed, as Castiglione did quite a few scenes of him and his family, and other artists began to imitate his style.

    Although I think it was part of why his presence was requested, I’m not sure if he ultimately did much religious art, so don’t expect to see finches and cherry branches. At a minimum, his most famous pieces seem to be of the emporer’s life, but the color, the unprecedented blending of artistic styles, and especially the fine detail really impress me. Wikipedia has a really nice scan of one of his portraits of the emperor, for example. If you look at it zoomed in, you can see not only painstaking detail everywhere and especially in the emperor’s clothes, but even chiaroscuro taken to impressive subtlety in a few places that makes the drawing really stand out:

    Looking at Daniel Mitsui’s work, the ink of the Great Battle of Heaven is a great translation to that style. This is neat stuff to discover.

  5. Venerator Sti Lot says:

    Thank you! (Also thank you to iamlucky13!) By good hap I encountered another of Daniel Mitsui’s interests the other day: the liturgical sequence!

  6. Sonshine135 says:

    Daniel Mitsui’s art is most excellent! Thank you for sharing it Pater.

  7. Jim in Seattle says:

    What is the symbolism of the cherry trees, Mary, and our baby Jesus? I recently hear a delightful Christmas song Cherry Tree Carol which the cherry tree figures prominently.

  8. iamlucky13 says:

    Hmm…the link I tried to post above got truncated. Let me try again:

    The Qianlong Emperor on Horseback – Ink, Giuseppe Castiglione (Wikipedia)

  9. Thanks for pointing out the irresponsible rabbits. From now on rabbits in art will bring to me a new appreciation for the composition.

  10. jmj_telcontar says:

    Wonderful! Beautiful examples of proper incultaration.

  11. Chris Garton-Zavesky says:


    Are those gold, frankincense and myrh (sp?) in the bottom left of Matsui’s painting?

  12. Supertradmum says:

    Fantastic work. Wish I had both the money and a wall on which to hang these gems.

    Here is one of my favorite carols someone mentioned above. I have had this on my blog at Christmas.

    Cherry Tree Carol sung by the Robert Shaw Festival Singers_0001.wmv

    Joseph was an old man, an old man was he,
    When he married sweet Mary, she’s Queen of Galilee.

    Now Joseph had wedded Mary and home had her brought.
    Mary proved with child but Joseph knew her not.

    Oh, Joseph and Mary went walking in the grove,
    They saw cherries and berries as red as any rose.

    And up spoke young Mary, so meek and so mild,
    “Oh, pick me cherries, Joseph, for I am with child.”

    Then Joseph flew in anger, in anger flew he,
    “Let the father of your baby pick cherries for thee.”

    The up spoke the baby Jesus, all in his mother’s womb,
    “Bow down low, you cherry tree, let my mother have some.”

    And the very tall branches bowed low to her knee,
    And Mary picked cherries by one, two and three.

    Now Mary had a young son which she dandled on her knee,
    “Come tell me, sweet baby, what will this world be?”

    “Oh, this world,” he said, “is no other than stones in the street
    But the sun, moon, and stars will sail under thy feet.

    “And I must not be rocked in silver or gold
    But in some wooden cradle like the babes are rocked all.

    “And on the sixth day of January my birthday will be,
    When the skies and the elements will tremble for me.”

  13. Someone please be the Garrigue says:

    Here is another Cherry Tree Carol:

  14. Venerator Sti Lot says:

    This got me wondering about liturgical commemoration of the Flight into Egypt: searching

    Flight into Egypt

    at New Advent leads to a lot of interesting-looking results, liturgical, exegetical/homiletic, artistic, musical, and more!


    Niccolò Antonio Zingarelli

    at YouTube unfortunately does not turn up his oratorio, “The Flight into Egypt”, though a lot of other interesting things result…)

  15. Johnno says:

    Hope that someday he puts out an artbook. I’d buy.

  16. ad Deum says:

    Saint Cecelia schola/choir of Saint John Cantius in a Chicago, too, does it well.

  17. Grumpy Beggar says:

    Theodore says:
    Rabbits are part of Traditional Japanese heraldry and are featured in several kamon.

    Absit invidia says:
    Thanks for pointing out the irresponsible rabbits. From now on rabbits in art will bring to me a new appreciation for the composition.

    We just can’t seem to get rid of those pesky rabbits ! Yet the more I hear about rabbits being metaphorically typecast as an enemy , the more it makes me think of Elmer Fudd.

    Sort of like : ” Shhhh . . . Be vewy vewy quiet ! We’w hunting Twads . . . heh heh heh heh .”

  18. Jim in Seattle says:

    @Venerator Sti Lot.

    Thanks for the reference. You are right, a lot of good information. Along with the flight into Egypt, there is this, which I found especially symbolic.

    “Bradley notes that multiple theories exists concerning the symbolism of the carol. He writes, “Some folklorists point to the widespread use in folklore of the gift of a cherry, or similar fruit carrying its own seed, as a divine authentication of human fertility.” He also notes the relationship between the eating of the fruit by Eve in the Garden of Eden, and the eating of cherries by Mary whose son would erase the transgression. He adds that some versions have Mary and Joseph walking through a garden, rather than an orchard, reinforcing the motif of the Garden of Eden.”

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