Vitale da Bologna and Workshop, The Nativity

Circa 1351-1360
Pomposa Abbey, Codigoro, Italy

As in other Pomposa frescos, the artist retains much of the older iconography – the midwives, St. Joseph's hand on his cheek, the separation between Mary and the baby – while adopting the more affectionate style of the High Gothic, with Mary's loving gaze at the smiling, chubby baby in the tub. Also typical of the artist's era is picturing the stable without walls.

In the upper left quadrant the angel points the way to the manger for the shepherds. The unusually long arms on the angel and the shepherds is another feature of Vitale's style in portraying figures in communication.

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