The Nativity

Object Details

Title:

The Nativity

Artist/Maker(s):

Simon Bening (Flemish, about 1483 - 1561)

Culture:

Flemish

Place(s):

Bruges, Belgium (Place created)

Date:

about 1525 - 1530

Medium:

Tempera colors, gold paint, and gold leaf on parchment

Dimensions:

Leaf: 16.8 x 11.4 cm (6 5/8 x 4 1/2 in.)

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Mary and Joseph, four angels, and an ass and an ox cluster in a tight circle around the tiny Christ Child. They block the view of two shepherds, who lean out from behind a column to get a glimpse of the child. Two angels above complete the group of adorers, all eager to pay homage to the newborn child.

The Roman ruins chosen as the site for the Nativity probably symbolically highlight the transition from the classical to the Christian world that occurred with the birth of Christ.