cjonie:


The Nativity at Night

Geertgen tot Sint Jans
possibly about 1490


In this small devotional painting Geertgen tot Sint Jans  (‘little Gerard of the Brethren of Saint John’) does not show the baby  in traditional swaddling clothes. Instead, the tiny naked child exudes  rays of supernatural light which illuminate the night-time scene, one of  the first realistically painted night scenes in Northern art.
It is so dark that we can barely make out Joseph standing behind to  the right, or the faces of the ox and ass as they too look into the  manger at the unexpected contents. The light emanating from the Christ  Child lights up the faces of the little angels and emphasises their  wonderment at his miraculous birth.
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