Nativity

Object Details

Title:

Nativity

Artist/Maker(s):

Gentile da Fabriano (Italian, about 1370 - 1427)

Culture:

Italian

Date:

about 1420 - 1422

Medium:

Tempera and gold leaf on panel

Dimensions:

72.4 x 42.6 cm (28 1/2 x 16 3/4 in.)

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Several subjects coexist in this painting: the Madonna of Humility, the Nativity, and the Annunciation to the Shepherds. As the Madonna of Humility, the Virgin sits upon the ground, her hands folded in worship. Presenting the Nativity, a sleeping Saint Joseph is shown at the left and an ox and donkey can be seen in the stable at the right. In the distance, a night landscape depicts shepherds receiving word of Christ's birth. Gentile da Fabriano's Madonna has a monumental grandeur, but the naturalism of this depiction makes it more innovative than the more decorative versions he had painted before. Here, Gentile reduced the amount of gold leaf in the background and included a wider vista behind her, conveying a greater sense of depth.

Provenance
by 1895 - 1966

Private Collection (Dubrovnik, Yugoslavia), by inheritance within the family to a private collector, 1966.

1966 - 1977

Private Collection (Vienna, Austria), sold to the J. Paul Getty Museum, 1977.

Exhibitions
Il potere, le arti, la guerra: lo splendore dei Malatesta (March 3 to June 15, 2001) (Cat. 62)
  • Castel Sismondo, (Rimini), March 3 to June 15, 2001
Gentile da Fabriano e l'altro Rinascimento (April 21 to July 23, 2006) (Cat. III.7)
  • Spedale di Santa Maria del Buon Gesù, (Fabriano), April 21 to July 23, 2006
Bibliography

Huter, Carl. "Gentile da Fabriano and the Madonna of Humility." Arte veneta 24 (1970), pp. 26-34, fig. 31.

Rossi, Francesco. "Ipotesi per Gentile da Fabriano a Brescia." Notizie da Palazzo Albani 2, no. 1 (1973), p. 14.

Carli, Enzo. Il Museo di Pisa (Pisa: Pacini Editore, 1974), p. 67, under no. 63.

Volpe, Carlo. "La donazione Vendeghini Baldi a Ferrara." Paragone 28, no. 329 (July 1977), pp. 75-76, pl. 64.

Davisson, D. D. Innovation and Ritual in Gentile da Fabriano's 'Madonna of Humility,' Malibu (unpublished typescript), 1979, Los Angeles, J. Paul Getty Museum.

Christiansen, Keith. Gentile da Fabriano (Ithaca, NY: Cornell University Press, 1982), pp. 122-23, no. XXXI, pl. 90.

De Marchi, Andrea. Gentile da Fabriano: un viaggio nella pittura italiana alla fine del gotico (Milan: Federico Motta, 1992), pp. 89n31, 105, 109n44, 110n69, 112, 115, 169, 187n42, pl. 31.

Wohl, Hellmut. "Gentile (di Niccolò di Massio) da Fabriano." In The Dictionary of Art. Jane Turner, ed. Vol. 12 (New York: Grove, 1996), p. 302.

Jaffé, David. Summary Catalogue of European Paintings in the J. Paul Getty Museum (Los Angeles: J. Paul Getty Museum, 1997), p. 49, ill.

De Marchi, Andrea. Gentile da Fabriano (Florence: Giunti, 1998), pp. 16, 18, ill. (detail).

Donati, Angela, ed. Il potere, le arti, la guerra: lo splendore dei Malatesta, exh. cat. (Rimini: Castel Sismondo, with Electa, 2001), pp. 198-99, no. 62, ill., entry by Andrea De Marchi.

Giorgi, Silvia. "Pittura e miniatura del primo Quattrocento nei territori malatestiani." In Le arti figurative nelle corti dei Malatesti. Luciano Bellosi, ed. (Rimini: Bruno Ghigi, 2002), p. 213.

Boskovits, Miklós, et al. Italian Paintings of the Fifteenth Century (Washington: National Gallery of Art, with Oxford University Press, 2003), p. 291n16.

Marcelli, Fabio. Gentile da Fabriano (Milan: Silvana, 2005), pp. 210, 211, 213, fig. 158.

Laureati, Laura, and Lorenza Mochi Onori, eds. Gentile da Fabriano and the Other Renaissance, exh. cat. (Fabriano: Spedale di Santa Maria del Buon Gesù, with Electa, 2006), pp. 148-49, no. III.7, ill., entry by Mauro Minardi.

De Marchi, Andrea. Gentile da Fabriano: un viaggio nella pittura italiana alla fine del gotico. 2nd ed. (Milan: Federico Motta, 2006), pp. 102n31, 126, 127, 129, 135n44, 137n69, 141, 202, 220n42, pl. 31.

De Marchi, Andrea, Laura Laureati, and Lorenza Mochi Onori, eds. Gentile da Fabriano: studi e ricerche (Milan: Electa, 2006), p. 161, ill., entry by Milvia Bollati.

Strehlke, Carl Brandon. "Lorenzo Monaco and Gentile da Fabriano." The Burlington Magazine 148, no. 1243 (October 2006), p. 682.

De Marchi, Andrea. "Gentile in Venice: the Valle Romita Polyptych." In Gentile da Fabriano and the Other Renaissance, exh. cat. Laura Laureati and Lorenza Mochi Onori, eds. (Fabriano: Spedale di Santa Maria del Buon Gesù, 2006), p. 127.

Christiansen, Keith. "The Art of Gentile da Fabriano." In Gentile da Fabriano and the Other Renaissance, exh. cat. Laura Laureati and Lorenza Mochi Onori, eds. (Fabriano: Spedale di Santa Maria del Buon Gesù, 2006), pp. 30, 49-50n46.