Niccolò di Tommaso, Vision of St. Brigid of the Nativity

After 1373
Tempera on wood
Pinacoteca Vaticana, Rome

The painting was made soon after St. Bridget's pilgrimage to Bethlehem in 1373. She is shown in the lower right corner, praying her beads before the scene, which is just as she described her vision to be. Though it is dark night outside, the cave is brightly lit – not by the ineffectual candle at the back but by the child himself. A blonde Mary has set aside her mantle, which is in the lower left corner, and wears only a tunic. At her knees are the linens that she prepared before the birth for the swaddling of the child. He "extend[s] his limbs, seeking to find refreshment and his Mother's favor." Joseph has returned and "and prostrating on the earth, he adore[s] him on bended knee."

The words flowing from Mary's lips are presumably a prayer, but I can't make them out in this photograph. The angel directly above is chanting sanctus sanctus sanctus, "Holy, Holy, Holy."

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Read more about St. Bridget of Sweden.
Read more about the Nativity.

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