Adoration of the Shepherds (c. 1450-1451) by Andrea Mantegna

Adoration of the Shepherds - Andrea Mantegna - 1456

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Artwork Information

TitleAdoration of the Shepherds
ArtistAndrea Mantegna
Dimensions40 x 55.6 cm
Art MovementEarly Renaissance
Current LocationMetropolitan Museum of Art, New York City, NY, US

About Adoration of the Shepherds

Created by Andrea Mantegna in 1456, the artwork “Adoration of the Shepherds” is an oil and tempera religious painting from the Early Renaissance period. Measuring 40 by 55.6 centimeters, it depicts a scene typical of Christian iconography. Currently, this artwork is part of the collection at the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York City, NY, USA.

The artwork captures the biblical story of the shepherds visiting the newborn Jesus Christ, which is celebrated during the Christmas tradition. In the foreground, the Virgin Mary is shown reverently gazing down at the infant Jesus, who is lying on the ground. She stands out in her deep blue and red attire, with her hands brought together in a gesture of prayer or adoration. To her side, the slumbering Joseph appears in a contemplative state, dressed in a vivid robe of yellow and red, and resting his head upon his hand, perhaps signifying quiet reflection.

Engaging directly with the child, two shepherds approach in the lower right of the scene, leaning in with expressions of wonder and curiosity. Their gestures echo the awe and significance of this divine event. The composition is set against an intricately rendered landscape, complete with naturalistic details and a distant horizon that offers a sense of space and context. Mantegna’s work is characteristic of the Early Renaissance, with a keen attention to perspective and the emotional resonance of the figures within the narrative tableau.

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