(Italian, c. 1510-1561)
Etching and engraving
Platemark: 37.5 x 51 cm (14 3/4 x 20 1/16 in.)
Alma Kroeger Fund 2017.107
Catalogue raisonné: Bartsch XVI.121.8; Passavant VI, p. 178; Lauder 112, state II/IV
Battista Franco’s etching depicts a group of shepherds who visit the Virgin Mary and Jesus after Jesus’s birth. Guided by a host of angels, the shepherds’ twisting bodies, pointing gestures, and directional gazes—mirrored by those of an ass and a cow—offer witness to the miraculous birth. Groups of men conversing in the background offer a more intellectual approach to the miracle, while Joseph gazes calmly and contemplatively from the right.
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