MASTER of Flémalle
(b. ca. 1375, Valenciennes, d. 1444, Tournai)

The Nativity (detail)

Musée des Beaux-Arts, Dijon

The most striking element in this Nativity, however, is certainly the extended landscape that spreads out behind the stable. Beyond the two midwives, a rutted track running beside a stream leads the eye deep into the picture space. The track is bordered by pollarded willows and tall trees with fine branches. A path joins the track and leads across a meadow surrounded by a wicker fence. A man and a woman are walking along the path; they are wearing capes and are accompanied by a peasant woman carrying a basket of eggs on her head. Further on is a large farmhouse, its yard surrounded by high walls, and beyond this again lies a village with its houses, a lake nestling between hills and a small farm with vineyards perched on a slope.

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