L'Ortolano (Giovanni Battista Benvenuti) (Italian, Ferrarese, active by 1512, died after 1527)
Oil on canvas, transferred from wood; 19 3/8 x 28 3/4 in. (49.2 x 73 cm)
Theodore M. Davis Collection, Bequest of Theodore M. Davis, 1915 (30.95.296)
A larger variant of the present composition, in which the shepherds are substituted by figures of Saint Francis and the Magdalene, is in the Galleria Doria Pamphilj in Rome. Like the altarpiece, which is dated 1527, the present painting is a late work. The Adoration is a characteristic work by the artist, with the bright colors and carefully spaced figures he preferred. As in so many Ferrarese paintings, the landscape is enchanting, with its mountains "rising like teeth from the plain," as they were once described.