The Adoration of the Shepherds

Andrea Mantegna Italian

On view at The Met Fifth Avenue in Gallery 606

In clothing tattered from years of labor, a group of shepherds arrives to witness the newborn Christ Child. His birth was announced to them by angels, as seen in the upper right. The humble figures find the Holy Family resting in a mesmerizingly detailed landscape. Mantegna depicted the Virgin Mary and Christ Child as a portal between the natural world and the divine: the Virgin’s blue and gold robes extend into clouds filled with cherubs who swirl around the newborn. The painting may have been commissioned by Borso d’Este, the duke of Ferrara. Its style seems to be a response to the vogue for Netherlandish painting in Ferrara.

#5100. The Adoration of the Shepherds

The Adoration of the Shepherds, Andrea Mantegna (Italian, Isola di Carturo 1430/31–1506 Mantua), Tempera on canvas, transferred from wood

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