GIOTTO di Bondone
(b. 1267, Vespignano, d. 1337, Firenze)

No. 17 Scenes from the Life of Christ: 1. Nativity: Birth of Christ

Fresco, 200 x 185 cm
Cappella Scrovegni (Arena Chapel), Padua

The simple shelter under which the Virgin and her Child seek refuge is situated in the middle of a bleak rocky landscape. Mary turns on her side on the bed in order to receive the new-born baby from the arms of a midwife — a natural and spontaneous gesture, which is captured by the way mother and child look at one another. Although on the periphery, this exchange of glances seems to be the actual centre of the portrayal, which is expanded to include the scene of the Annunciation to the shepherds.

© Web Gallery of Art, created by Emil Krén and Daniel Marx.