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Probably by Bernardino da Asola, The Adoration of the Shepherds

Key facts
Full title The Adoration of the Shepherds
Artist Probably by Bernardino da Asola
Artist dates active about 1525 - 50
Date made probably 1525-30
Medium and support Oil on canvas
Dimensions 109.2 × 160.6 cm
Acquisition credit Bequeathed by Sir William H. Gregory, 1892
Inventory number NG1377
Location Not on display
Collection Main Collection
Previous owners
The Adoration of the Shepherds
Probably by Bernardino da Asola

The Virgin Mary and Saint Joseph kneel with the shepherds in adoration before the sleeping Christ Child. One shepherd carries a set of bagpipes, the other has a simple flask and bag tied at his waist. Their earthy facial features appear to be related to examples from northern European art. The distant shepherd watching his flock may represent the Annunciation to the Shepherds.

The lamb held by the infant Saint John the Baptist symbolises Christ, who will be sacrificed on the Cross for the salvation of mankind. The procession crossing the river in the distance and the approaching riders are perhaps the Three Kings arriving to pay homage to Christ.

This is one of three similar pictures of the Adoration of the Shepherds which appear to be by the same artist. The composition relates to early works by Titian and details of the landscape are similar to other works attributed to Bernardino da Asola.

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