(b. ca. 1399, Siena, d. 1482, Siena)


c. 1460
Tempera on wood, 174 x 73 cm
Christian Museum, Esztergom

This panel probably shows a work produced by Giovanni di Paolo when he was already past his prime. On this picture the line of the roof of the stable slants steeply downward to the right, and the landscape roses to the right with its tiny, improbably small bushes and rocks, recalling fantastic turrets, and leads the eyes upward. The figure of the Madonna bent forward and the nodding St Joseph - tranquil pose - emphasize the vertical axis of the composition. This vertical axis, however, does not coincide with the median of the picture, and is not even completely vertical, but leans somewhat to the left, or in other words it stresses the asymmetry rather than the equilibrium of the composition.

Suggested listening (streaming mp3, 16 minutes):
Arcangelo Corelli: Concerto grosso in g minor op. 6 No. 8 (Christmas Concerto)