Depicting an episode ifrom the Christ's life, the adoration of the shepherds, our painting is part of a series of works associated with the birth of Jesus and is one of the few biblical subjects treated by the Antwerp painter, Louis de Caullery. Rather specialized in feasts and genre scenes, Louis de Caullery, following the example of his contemporaries, also engages in sacred painting, favoring two opposing subjects in his work: the Nativity and the crucifixion. Usually He illustrates very few scenes from the Old Testament.
Our painting highlights the moment after Jesus was born in the stable. The shepherds are the first to know about the event and arrive on the spot long before the Magi. The painter places in the center the Virgin Mary in the blue mantle showing the improvised cradle of the baby Jesus, while an angel bows before him. The flocked shepherds kneel before Christ, overcome with astonishment and respect.
The painter places Joseph behind the ox as a silent spectator and almost a stranger to the scene.
In the heavens two groups of cherubs playing the lute and the violin sing a sacred concert proclaiming the birth of the Savior. A celestial light pierces the darkened sky to illuminate the scene.
The harmony of colors with warm tones is broken by the blue clothes of certain figures and the sky, bringing contrasts in the composition.
The finesse of the brush in the rendering of the fabrics accentuates the folds of wrinkled clothes and brings volume and depth.
The composition is dominated by numerous figures on earth and in the sky, however the painter leaves an opening on the right to the distant horizon with shades of blue green.
Antwerp school, early 17th century, workshop of Louis de Caullery.
Oil on oak panel.
Dimensions: panel: h. 40 cm, l. 58 cm
Framed: h. 59 cm, l. 77 cm
Dutch style frame
Similar works from Louis de Caullery's studio on the same subject:
- Museum of Orleans
- Museum of Chalon sur Saône