SAVOLDO, Giovanni Girolamo
(b. 1480, Brescia, d. 1548, Venezia)

Adoration of the Shepherds

c. 1540
Pinacoteca Tosio Martinengo, Brescia

This is a fine example of Savoldo's mature work. He painted various versions of the same ever-popular subject, but the Brescia painting is the most concentrated and convincing. It reveals Savoldo's appealing poetic sentiment which is demonstrated through the simple and direct gestures of the characters, fully expressing their humanity. The light is subtle and the details build up an impressive feeling of realism. Savoldo's true forte was for night scenes like this, which let him give his liking for unusual light effects full play. Particularly noteworthy is the contrast of the dark background and the brilliantly yet softly illuminated figures in the foreground.