Adoration of the Shepherds

Adoration of the Shepherds

c. 1650

Bernardo Cavallino

(Italian, 1616-1656)

Oil on canvas

Framed: 151 x 172 x 7 cm (59 7/16 x 67 11/16 x 2 3/4 in.); Unframed: 126.8 x 148.3 cm (49 15/16 x 58 3/8 in.)

Mr. and Mrs. William H. Marlatt Fund 1968.100

Description

Cavallino worked in Naples. He was not a well known artist during his lifetime, but he was alert to the work of his contemporaries and he always transformed their influence with his extraordinary delicacy and charm. The adoration of the shepherds is a traditional subject, but here Cavallino shows it in a new light. The focus is on Mary, indicating that she alone is aware of the angels who flutter above with ribbons proclaiming "Gloria in Excelsis Deo." Joseph and the shepherds stolidly regard the child; but the sweetness of Mary's expression seems to reveal simultaneously her love, pride, and humility.

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