Lunedì, 22 Ottobre 2018
ROME

From Giotto to Gauguin, the Nativity as told in art

English
© ANSA

Rome, December 15 - The birth of Christ is a theme
explored by many of the great masters of pictorial art.
From Giotto to Gauguin, these artists have interpreted the
Nativity in a range of styles, variously placing the accent on
the mysticism, tenderness, realism or majesty of the scene.
The Christmas holiday season provides a good opportunity to
discover some of these artworks in churches and museums across
Italy and abroad.
In the Scrovegni Chapel in Padua, for example, it is possible
to admire Giotto's early 14th century Nativity of Jesus
depicting Mary, lying inside under a canopy, placing the baby
Jesus wrapped in swaddling clothes in the manger.
Visitors to the National Gallery in London can instead admire
Sandro Botticelli's mystical Nativity, painted in 1501 and
featuring rigid figures and strong colours.
Here, it is also possible to view Piero della Francesca's
1470 masterpiece on the same theme, showing Mary kneeling in
adoration before a newly-born Christ who is laid on her cloak
against a rural background with a Tuscan feel.
The Nativity by Albrecht Dürer (1504) at the Neue Pinakothek
in Munich - the central panel in the Paumgartner altarpiece -
shows the Christ child lying on Mary's cloak surrounded by
angels as Joseph looks on.
Also at the Neue Pinakothek, don't miss Gauguin's Te tamari
no atua (The Son of God) in which the dark-skinned Madonna and
Child are interpreted in a more familiar and less religious key.
El Greco's Adoration of the Shepherds, kept in the Prado
Museum in Madrid, is a particularly evocative interpretation of
the birth of Christ with striking light-dark contrasts and in
which the figures are arranged in a spiral.
Visitors to the National Gallery in Washington can admire the
Nativity by Lorenzo Lotto, dating to 1523; in this small
painting the viewer is placed directly inside the stable with
Christ at the centre between Mary and Joseph.
Beato Angelico's Adoration of the Child or Nativity is on
view at St Mark's Convent in Florence. This 1440 fresco shows St
Catherine of Alexandria, the Virgin, St Jospeh and St Peter
Martyr arranged in a semi-circle around the baby Jesus in
adoration.
Correggio's Adoration of the Shepherds, known at The Night,
is on display at the Gemäldegalerie in Dresden. This mystical
nativity has a night time setting, with the light source
appearing to come directly from the child.
Visitors to Florence's cathedral can observe the splendid
stained glass window designed by Paolo Uccello and created by
Angelo Lippi in 1443, with baby Jesus at the centre and Mary and
the shepherds on one side and St Joseph on the other, and the ox
and donkey in the background.

photo: Giotto's Nativity in Padua's Scrovegni Chapel

© Riproduzione riservata

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