The Nativity

Francesco di Giorgio Martini Italian

On view at The Met Fifth Avenue in Gallery 956

Francesco di Giorgio was an outstanding architect, sculptor, painter, and theorist. Curiously, his fanciful paintings often show a disregard for perspective and anatomy and this has led to much discussion about his use of assistants. The upper part of this engaging composition is very inventive and was inspired by the sculptural reliefs of Donatello, while the lower part reflects Francesco's admiration for the work of the north Italian miniaturist Girolamo da Cremona, who worked on choirbooks in Siena from 1470 to 1474. So different in character are the upper and lower parts that they were separated in the nineteenth century; they were rejoined in 1988.

The Nativity, Francesco di Giorgio Martini (Italian, Siena 1439–1501 Siena), Tempera on wood

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