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The Nativity

The Nativity

c. 1457

Part of a set. See all set records

Jaume Ferrer

(Spanish, 1460/70)

Oil, tempera, and gold on wood panel (fir)

Framed: 187.3 x 139.1 x 14 cm (73 3/4 x 54 3/4 x 5 1/2 in.); Unframed: 172.7 x 124.4 cm (68 x 49 in.)

Gift of Francis Ginn, Marian Ginn Jones, Barbara Ginn Griesinger, and Alexander Ginn in memory of Frank Hadley Ginn and Cornelia Root Ginn 1953.660.2

Description

This painting is believed to be a remaining component of a six-panel altarpiece. The large central panel is now preserved in the Museu National d’Art de Catalunya in Barcelona. Ferrer collaborated with the painter Pere Garcia de Benavarri on this commission. Spanish works like these often feature elaborate treatment of the gold background, evident here in the exuberant raised decoration (called pastiglia) in the haloes. As a symbol of his dominion over the world, Christ holds an orb in his left hand; he bestows a blessing with his right hand. The Virgin kneels above him in rapt adoration. Using the wattle fence almost as a church pew, two shepherds express humble piety; one removes his hat and the other clasps his hands in prayer.

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