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Giovanni Battista Spinelli, The Adoration of the Shepherds

Key facts
Full title The Adoration of the Shepherds
Artist Giovanni Battista Spinelli
Artist dates active from about 1630 - about 1660
Date made before 1660
Medium and support Oil on canvas
Dimensions 153.3 × 134 cm
Acquisition credit Presented by Woodford Pilkington, 1884
Inventory number NG1157
Location Room 32
Collection Main Collection
The Adoration of the Shepherds
Giovanni Battista Spinelli

The Virgin Mary gazes down at the infant Christ Child, who lies on a woven manger: wisps of hay poke through the sides of the basketwork. Beside them Saint Joseph leans on a stick; on the right the shepherds look on in wonder, their humble gift of a lamb lying on the floor beside the manger. Other figures crowd around the edges and a small dog even perches its front paws on a step to get a better view of the baby. This is the Adoration of the Shepherds, as described in the Gospel of Luke (2: 16–17).

This painting entered the National Gallery’s collection, damaged and largely repainted, in 1884.Having been ascribed to both Spanish and Italian artists, recent conservation has revealed the painting to be a typical work by the idiosyncratic Neapolitan painter, Giovanni Battista Spinelli.

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