(b. ca. 1410, Siena, d. 1449, Siena)

Adoration of the Shepherds

c. 1445
Tempera on wood
Museo d'Arte Sacra, Asciano

Pietro di Giovanni d'Ambrogio was capable of refinement and sophistication, but in his large Adoration of the Shepherds he adopts a rustic idiom. The bright button-eyed child so cosily wrapped in his swaddling-cylinder looks out under the kindly gaze of the beasts, the ox's horn companionably placed behind the ass's ear. The nocturnal panorama extending beyond the creche, leading across chessboard fields to a dark lake and dominated by the great owl perched on the roof, is among the most astounding landscapes in all Italian painting.

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