Description The Adoration of the Child is represented, with the Archangel Michael on the left, and the Annunciation to the Shepherds in the right background. The scene takes place in a field, partly under the tiled roof of a shed which, unsupported by any post, projects like an awning. The nude child, his right forefinger raised to his mouth, lies on the spreading folds of the cobalt-blue mantle of the Virgin. Dressed in a blue gown, she kneels with her hands joined in adoration. Her glance turns towards the symbolic figure of St. Michael crushing the dragon, which is an allusion to the prophetic announcement of the birth of God made Man through a Virgin (Revelations 12). The archangel is bareheaded, with spreading wings glazed in turquoise. He wears brown Gothic armor, elaborately gilt, and his gauntlet-clad left hand grasps the lance that pierces the prostrate body of the dragon. His mantle is mulberry-brown. St. Joseph, beardless and bald, carries a lighted candle in his left hand, alluding to Christmas night and to the supernatural light of the divinity of Christ; he raises his right hand in a gesture of adoration. Behind the Virgin appears the head of the ass and behind St. Joseph is the ox. Over a low masonry wall lean two shepherds, one with hat and bagpipes, while the other turns his head to listen to the message of the angel who hovers in the sky, bearing a white scroll inscribed: GLORIA IN EXE[Isis]. In the background is a tiny sheep. The sky is powdered with stars.
Provenance George Robinson Harding, New York [date and mode of acquisition unknown]; William T. / Henry Walters Collection, Baltimore [date and mode of acquisition unknown]; Walters Art Museum, 1931, by bequest.
Credit Acquired by William T. or Henry Walters
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