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Santa Claus Art Through the Ages Fun Facts

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Santa Claus Art Through the Ages: The traditional savior of Christmas in the United States and other nations is Santa Claus, a legendary character. The origins of Santa Claus can be found hundreds of years ago with a monk named St. Nicholas, believed to have been born in Patara sometime in the 280s AD. The real picture of Santa Claus is based on customs connected with the Christian saint from the fourth century.
Santa Claus hasn’t always been the jolly, red-suited, grandfatherly gift-giver who pulls a sleigh by reindeer that we all know and love. Santa’s portrayals have changed over time due to the myths and legends surrounding St. Nicholas, Sinterklaas, and Father Christmas, which have been passed down through centuries through gift cards, stories, advertisements, posters, and film. 
We have compiled a list of Santa Claus art through the ages to show how various works of art have depicted how Santa’s appearance (and size) have changed over time.

Santa Claus | Haddon Sundblom

Haddon Hubbard “Sunny” Sundblom, a Finnish and American illustrator, is well known for the Santa Claus illustrations he produced for The Coca-Cola Company. The Santa Claus adverts that Sundblom created for The Coca-Cola Company in the 1930s are the ones for which he is best known for his advertising work.
Sundblom portrayed plump, happy, Coke-drinking Santas. Similar to Leyendecker’s, these Santa Claus Illustrations depict Santa in several endearing scenarios, like coming across a curious dog and being seen by kids as he distributes gifts on Christmas Eve. and that Santa Claus from his fur-trimmed red suit and hat to his bushy beard, rosy cheeks, and glasses—was greatly popularized by Coca-Cola advertising.

Santa Claus Art Trough the Ages
Santa Claus | Haddon Sundblom illustration for Coca Cola

Saint Nicholas | Alexander Anderson

In the early days of Christianity, Saint Nicholas, Bishop of Myra (270–343), was the predecessor of Santa Claus. In many European countries as early as the twelfth century, Nicholas came to be known for his care for children and charity toward the needy. 
John Pintard commissioned American illustrator Alexander Anderson to create this print of Saint Nicholas in 1810. Although this representation of Saint Nicholas lacks many characteristic features, his halo and the cross on his garments indicate he is a saint. 
He has several characteristics, such as his bishop’s miter (hat) and crozier, but his appearance and attire vary widely from job to job. When examining how Saint Nicholas has changed over time, it appears that, rather than the other way around, Santa Claus has influenced how Saint Nicholas is portrayed in art.

Santa Claus Art Through the Ages
St. Nicholas. Dec. 6th. A.D. 343 *1810

Father Christmas | Josiah King

It is believed that a melody from the 15th century that speaks of a “Sire Christmas” has the oldest English examples of the personification of Christmas. The Santa Claus Art below is from Josiah King’s The Examination and Tryal of Father Christmas (1686), written soon after Christmas was made a holy day in England again after being outlawed as a representation of “Catholic superstition and godless self-indulgence” following the Civil War.
The phenomena of Father Christmas, also known as Old Father Christmas, Sir Christmas, and Lord Christmas, a popular figure in English folklore and associated with the similarly bearded Old English god Woden, was another significant contributor to the idea of Famous Santa Claus Paintings. He often represented the Christmas spirit of joy unrelated to children or giving presents.

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Josiah King’s The Examination and Tryal of Father Christmas (1686)

Santa Claus | Thomas Nast

Thomas Nast was the first artist to contribute substantially to the recent Paintings of Santa Clause (1840-1902). We can still quickly recognize the persona of Santa portrait in modern times. 
In a Civil War-related drawing in Harper’s Weekly from 1863, Nast’s first Santa Claus was depicted wearing an American flag outfit. His most well-known Santa, created in 1881 for Harper’s Weekly, features a portly man with a short beard, a long-stemmed pipe, and an armful of presents. For the following decades, Santas, with similar general characteristics to Nast’s, appeared on magazine covers and in ads.

Santa Clause, St Nicolas Chrismas
Santa Holds Armful of Toys, 1880 Vintage Antique Santa Claus Print by Thomas Nast

Christmas Expense | Norman Rockwell

Santa Claus’s red suit and cheery, pleasantly fat figure are forever linked with him in the public’s mind because of Norman Rockwell’s 1920 painting. This Early Twenty Century Santa Claus picture is of a group of happy kids overlaid behind this kind older man as he squints into the distance and reviews his financial records. 
With a sprig of holly in his hair and a somewhat constricted red waistcoat, Rockwell’s Santa is merry and kind, solidifying him as the cherished gift-giver of childhood Christmas fantasies.

Christmas Art
Norman Rockwell’s 1920 painting. Christmas Expense

Final Words 

The article discovers Santa Claus art through the ages and how much it is changed. From the first representation of the Santa clause to later versions of Santa clause pictures and Santa sketches, the image of Santa is changed drastically. But, for art enthusiasts, there is an inspiration to evolve without sticking to old-fashioned visions. So, let’s take Santa Claus as a way to see art from a different perspective.

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