Sandro Botticelli
The Nativity

Columbia Museum of Art, Columbia, South Carolina.

The central scene is as described by St. Bridget of Sweden, with Mary and Joseph adoring the naked child. To this basic Brigittine composition the artist has added a young John the Baptist and a makeshift chair for the child. The ox and ass stand behind at a capacious manger of woven branches. Angels above sing from a songbook, recalling their announcement to the shepherds, who approach from the left.

The unwalled stable and the ruined look are conventional in this period.

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Photographed at the museum by Richard Stracke, shared under Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike license.