Colin McCahon and the Visible Mystery of Painting

  • Laurence Simmons


This essay brings together two paintings that on the surface seem to have very little in common: one dates from 1528–29 (The Visitation by the Italian late Renaissance painter Jacopo Carucci, better known as Pontormo after his birthplace), the other from 1968 (Visible Mysteries no. 8 by Colin McCahon). They are brought together here because they share the same subject matter: the central Catholic doctrine of the Incarnation, the mystery of God’s word becoming flesh, and the belief that divine and human natures are united. These two paintings can, in both similar and different ways, teach us something about the visible mystery that is painting.


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How to Cite
SIMMONS, Laurence. Colin McCahon and the Visible Mystery of Painting. The Journal of New Zealand Studies, [S.l.], n. NS31, dec. 2020. ISSN 2324-3740. Available at: <>. Date accessed: 24 jan. 2021. doi: