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