Art/ Collection/ Art Object
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The Nativity

Artist:
Workshop of Rogier van der Weyden (Netherlandish, Tournai ca. 1399–1464 Brussels)
Date:
mid-15th century
Geography:
Made in Brussels, Belgium
Culture:
South Netherlandish
Medium:
Tempera and oil on wood
Dimensions:
Overall (as displayed): 59 3/4 x 108 x 19 1/2 in. (151.8 x 274.3 x 49.5 cm)
Classification:
Paintings-Panels
Credit Line:
The Cloisters Collection, 1949
Accession Number:
49.109
On view at The Met Fifth Avenue in Gallery 627
The central panel of this altarpiece represents the Nativity, flanked on the left by the annunciation of the Tiburtine Sibyl to the emperor Augustus, and on the right by the Annunciation to the Magi with a further scene in the background of the Magi bathing at Mount Victorial. The wings depict the Visitation and the Adoration of the Magi, looking on from above surrounded by angels, is God the Father. The announcement of Christ's coming to Augustus and to the Three Kings were events thought to have occurred at the moment of Christ's birth. This dual annunciation to the rulers of the West and East demonstrates the universal significance of the Incarnation and the Supremacy of Christ over all earthly realms. The center panel generally follows the composition of a triptych now in Berlin devoted to the same subjects and painted about 1445 by Rogier van der Weyden for Pierre Bladelin, treasurer to the Burgundian dukes. Two of the small outer wings were removed and are now in private collection.
Inscription: On banderole of Tiburtine Sibyl: Cor Contritum...; on banderole of Virgin and Child: ...dixerit vobis…
A nunnery in Segovia, Spain; Frasinelli, Stuttgart (about 1843) ; John Dunn Gardner, Bottisham Hall, Cambridgeshire (until 1854) ; his sale Christie's, London(March 25, 1854, no. 65) ; [ P. & D. Colnaghi & Co., London (sold 1854)] ; Sir James Carnegie, 9th Earl of Southesk, Kinnaird Castle, Brechin, Scotland (1854-1905) ; Sir Charles Noel Carnegie, 10th Earl of Southesk(1905-1941) ; Charles Alexander Carnegie, 11th Earl of Southesk(until 1948) ; [ Roland, Browse & Delbanco, London (sold 1948)] ; [ Thomas Agnew & Sons, London (1948-1949)]
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Kemperdick, Stephan. "The Workshop and Its Working Materials." In The Master of Flémalle and Rogier van der Weyden, edited by Stephan Kemperdick, and Jochen Sander. Ostfildern: Städel Museum, 2009. pp. 104-05, fig. 66, ill. p. 103.

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