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Barent Fabritius, The Adoration of the Shepherds

Key facts
Full title The Adoration of the Shepherds
Artist Barent Fabritius
Artist dates 1624 - 1673
Date made 1667
Medium and support Oil on canvas
Dimensions 66 × 61 cm
Inscription summary Signed; Dated
Acquisition credit Bought, 1891
Inventory number NG1338
Location Not on display
Collection Main Collection
The Adoration of the Shepherds
Barent Fabritius

Barent Fabritius’s bleak, shadowy stable is coldly lit. The rays radiating from the Christ Child in the manger light up the people close to him, but even they bring little comfort. Only the deep, dusty pink of Mary’s gown and the shepherd’s extraordinary red hat bring a touch of warmth to the scene.

In seventeenth-century Holland, religious pictures no longer hung on church walls. The old, highly decorated Catholic churches gave way to the plain white walls preferred by members of the new Protestant faith. But the Dutch were a devout people, and many had small pictures that showed the New Testament story as if it were happening in their own time in their homes.

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