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Key facts
Full title The Adoration of the Shepherds
Artist Probably by Bernardino Butinone
Artist dates active 1475 to about 1510
Date made about 1480-5
Medium and support Tempera on poplar
Dimensions 24.8 x 21.6 cm
Acquisition credit Bought, 1918
Inventory number NG3336
Location Not on display
Collection Main Collection
The Adoration of the Shepherds
Probably by Bernardino Butinone
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The Virgin Mary kneels in adoration before Christ, her son, who lies on his back in the hay in a manger. Behind her are two men in ragged clothes. This is the Adoration of the Shepherds, described in Gospel of Luke (2: 8–18). Mary’s husband Joseph – looking slightly despondent – sits huddled in a yellow cloak, his back against the wall. Beside him, a small waterskin and a round object, perhaps a flask, hang from a peg.

This small panel is one of a series that shows events from the life of Christ, painted by Bernardino Butinone probably in the early 1480s. Around 13 survive in various collections; others are lost. They perhaps came from a large multi-panelled altarpiece that possibly involved sculpture, such as were fashionable in Lombardy.

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