Arts Everyday Living: Celebrating the Holidays in Art—Adoration of Shepherds, Divine Night

Giovanni Girolamo Savoldo, The Adoration of the Shepherds, 1530s, oil on panel, Samuel H. Kress Collection, National Gallery of Art, Washington, D.C.

Title: Adoration of the Shepherds, 1530s

Artist: Giovanni Girolamo Savoldo (c. 1480-1548)


Night has fallen and the three shepherds have journeyed from the outlying fields to worship the Christ Child. Like Mary, their hands folded reverently  in prayer, while Jospeh on our left, opens his palms and fingers in a gesture of praise. Although darkness surrounds them, a divine light emanates from the infant Jesus that illuminates his devoted worshippers in varying degrees. Notice too the brilliant, fiery glow of the angel, in the far right  background, startling them initially with his message that a savior had been born.

Giovanni Girolamo Savoldo created during the Italian High Renaissance, a contemporary of Michelangelo, Raphael, and Titian. Born in Lombardy, he worked in cities in northern Italy and Venice.


In the public domain, courtesy of the National Gallery of Art, Washington, D.C.

The National Gallery of Art does not endorse or approve use of the above image or any of the material on this website. Nor has the National Gallery of Art participated in any projects utilizing the said image.


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