The Adoration of the Shepherds (1504 – 1505) by Albrecht Durer

The Adoration of the Shepherds - Albrecht Durer - 1504 - 1505

Artwork Information

TitleThe Adoration of the Shepherds
ArtistAlbrecht Durer
Date1504 - 1505
Art MovementNorthern Renaissance
Current LocationAlbertina, Vienna, Austria

About The Adoration of the Shepherds

“The Adoration of the Shepherds” is a woodcut by Albrecht Dürer, a renowned artist from the Northern Renaissance. It was created between 1504 and 1505, and like many of Dürer’s works, it is a religious painting. This particular woodcut is held at the Albertina museum in Vienna, Austria.

The artwork depicts a nocturnal scene set in a rustic, dilapidated structure, interpreted as the stable in Bethlehem. In the center, the Virgin Mary is shown kneeling and adoring the Christ Child, who is lying on the ground on a bed of hay. To the right, shepherds are approaching to witness the newborn, indicating the moment when the shepherds visit the infant Jesus as described in the New Testament. The shepherds, some bearing traditional staffs, exhibit a sense of awe and reverence.

On the left-hand side of the image stands Joseph, identifiable by his halo as well as his elderly appearance, observing the scene. Above, a cluster of angels hovers in the sky, celebrating the birth with music and praise, with one angel specifically pointing down towards the Holy Child.

The woodcut is dense with detail, showcasing Dürer’s masterful use of line to create textures and depth, particularly in the rendering of the straw roof, the architectural elements, and the clothing of the figures. The star of Bethlehem is distinctly represented shining above, serving as a beacon for this holy event.

This image is striking in the energy and movement conveyed through the fine lines and intricate details, features characteristic of Dürer’s work and reflective of the Northern Renaissance’s focus on precision and realism, even within religious context.

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