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Core Record

Title Nativity
Alternative Title The Adoration of the Shepherds
Collection Brighton Museum and Art Gallery
Artist After Aachen, Hans von (German painter, 1552-1615)
Date Earliest about 1574
Date Latest about 1700
Description

The Christ Child lies in a stable crowded with shepherds and their families, bagpiper with mastiff, Mary and Joseph, angel rejoicing at centre, ox, ass and lamb. Cherubim are entwined above, outside a shaft of starlight appears. The influence of Hans von Aachen's stay in Italy is readily apparent in the painting, which betrays knowledge of the work of Correggio and Veronese. The woman in the foreground holding a child with her back to the viewer is a typical compositional device used by the artist.

This is one of a number of versions after Aachen's original Nativity (Staatsgemäldesammlungen, Munich). The artist has depicted the Nativity in grisaille (monochrome). The oval format makes the grouping of the scene seem more intimate, while effectively drawing the eye to the various figures in the painting. The gestures of the figures, while conveying the different types represented, also suggest heightened emotion and inspire the viewer's own adoration of the infant Christ.

Current Accession Number FA000073
Former Accession Number 2596
Subject religion (nativity); figure
Measurements 51 x 39 cm (estimate)
Material oil on panel (hardwood {oak})
Acquisition Details Purchased under the terms of the C. F. N. Bergh bequest from the Arcade Gallery, Royal Arcade, 28 Old Bond Street, London, 1970.
Publications Wright, C., Old Master Paintings in Britain: An Index of Continental Old Master Paintings Executed before c.1800 in Public Collections in the United Kingdom, London, 1976, pp. 1, 234; Jacoby, J., Hans von Aachen 1552-1615 Munich, 2000, cat. no. 45, pp. 91-94, ill. 45; Public Catalogue Foundation, Oil Paintings in Public Ownership in East Sussex, London, 2005, ill. p. 12.
Notes The composition incorporates motifs that recur throughout Aachen's work, such as the figure of the woman in the right foreground with her back to the viewer, carrying a child who looks out over her shoulder. It is possible that this grisaille study was used as a model for the engraving of the same subject by Jan Sadeler (1550 - 1600), an example of which can be found in the Fine Arts Museums of San Francisco, cat. No. 1963.30.14758.
Rights Owner Brighton Museum and Art Gallery
Author Timothy Williams and Bryony Bartlett-Rawlings
 

 

 

 

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