Lorenzo Monaco (Piero di Giovanni) (Italian, Florentine, ca. 1370–1425)
Tempera on panel; 8 3/8 x 12 1/4 in. (21.4 x 31.2 cm)
Robert Lehman Collection, 1975 (1975.1.66)
This Nativity is one of Lorenzo Monaco's most celebrated works. The compositional elements are brilliantly adapted to the quatrefoil field, and the rich and subtle color harmonies reflect the artist's skill as a manuscript painter. Particularly striking is the nocturnal setting, which is suffused by the supernatural light emanating from the Christ Child and the angel. This panel formed part of a predella, which also included a Visitation, an Adoration of the Magi, and a Flight into Egypt, believed to have come from an altarpiece of the Annunciation by Lorenzo Monaco (Galleria dell'Accademia, Florence).