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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.

Key facts
Artist Giovanni Battista Spinelli
Artist dates active from about 1630 - about 1660
Full title The Adoration of the Shepherds
Date made before 1660
Medium and support Oil on canvas
Dimensions 153.3 x 134 cm
Acquisition credit Presented by Woodford Pilkington, 1884
Inventory number NG1157
Location in Gallery Not on display
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