Jacopo Bassano (Jacopo Da Ponte)
Adoration of the Shepherds with St. Corona

Oil on canvas
Museo Civico, Bassano del Grappa, Italy

In some images of this type the shepherds will bring the child the gift of a trussed lamb, evoking his destiny as "lamb of God," but it is unusual for them to arrive with three hulking sheep.

Because of Bridget of Sweden's vision of the Nativity, the baby was consistently pictured as naked in 15th-century Nativity images with or without the shepherds, but some in the 16th are like this one in providing him with some sort of cover.

The shepherd in green is noticeably younger than the others, but otherwise the artist did not seem interested in following the tradition of having the shepherds represent the three ages of man.

Along the lower left are saints Corona, Martin of Tours, and Anthony Abbot. Martin and Anthony are pictured just as one sees them in several other of the artist's paintings.

The martyr St. Corona is identified by the museum's label. Although the sources agree that she was the wife of St. Victor of Syria, this painting gives her the unveiled blond hair that traditionally denotes a martyr who was a virgin. Victor was a soldier so it could be argued that he is the young man in armor standing beside her, but this is not likely because he so closely resembles the images of St. Martin in other Bassano canvases.

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Read more about images of the birth of Jesus.
Read more about images of Saints Victor and Corona.
Read more about images of St. Martin.
Read more about images of St. Anthony Abbot.

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