Sunday, December 13, 2009

Sunday Art: Nativity

There are so many artistic interpretations of the nativity scene, but this painting is one of my favorites. This painting was done by an artist with the nickname of Tintoretto ("little dyer") and real name was Jacopo Robusti, who painted with the intent of mixing of styles of Titian and Michelangelo. He would often develop his compositions by making miniature sets of wax figures and arrange them, and the lighting until he was satisfied to begin the painting. I like the way he painted this scene in a circular composition to keep your eye moving around the painting, and the fact that he staged the scene as a 2 story stable so that the holy family is at the top, the 2 women bringing gifts were probably seen as midwives (the first to see the birth.) The rafters are open to see the angels above and the animals and peasants were kneeling below, but the scene was painted with dramatic lighting and the figures were posed in a theatrical way to enhance the viewer's emotional impact. It certainly worked for me and something I think back to at Christmas time when there are so many other nativity scenes in the stores, churches, even in people's yards. This interpretation really draws me in and makes my heart joyful in this season of Christmas.


  1. I've never seen anything like this. It sounds as if you work at an art museum, you know so much about this painting and art in general.

  2. No, I'm just an artist who really enjoys art history, art musuems, read a lot about this type of art, and took more than my share of art and art history classes. I developed a great appreciation for the art of the Italian/Venetian Renaissance and like to share some art appreciation and my knowledge of it once in a while.


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