Arts Everyday Living: Celebrating the Holidays in Art–The Nativity, Heart of the Christmas Story

School of Donato Niccolo Donatello, The Nativity, 1460-1470, stucco and polychrome, Mr. and Mrs. Martin A. Ryerson, Art Institute of Chicago, Illinois

Title: The Nativity, 1460-1470

School of Donato Niccolo Donatello

At the heart of the Christmas story is the Nativity: the Christ Child, Mary, Joseph and their two animal companions. In this beautifully crafted Italian Renaissance work of art above by a follower of the master Florentine sculptor Donatello, Mary is at the center, her strong hands cupped together in adoration of the tiny yet sturdy baby Jesus, While Joseph, just off to her side, sleeps soundly sitting up, with no sign of support for his head, weighed down by exhaustion. Years separate the couple in age, Joseph more like her grandfather than her husband. However, the donkey and ox share in the adulation, both temporarily free from their life of burden.



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