The Adoration of the Shepherds
Oil on canvas
The National Gallery, London
This impressive painting, whose subject is taken from Luke 2:8–20, depicts the moment when the shepherds have arrived directly from tending their flocks in the fields (emphasized by the extended landscape) to worship the newborn Son of God. The sanctity of the halo-adorned Christ Child commanding the center alongside the idealized Virgin is expertly melded with the down-to-earth elements so characteristic of the Le Nains’ outdoor genre scenes. Acutely observed details include the wrinkled, worn feet of the kneeling shepherd, whose garment is tattered at its hem; the displaced piece of straw in the foreground; the chipped marble of the Doric columns; and the vine dangling from the arch above.
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