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Advent Calendar 2004

December 20

The Adoration of the Shepherds, by Hugo van der Goes
Article by Joseph Phelan
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Hugo van der Goes: The Adoration of the Shepherds Following the Annunciation, the shepherds went into the town of Bethlehem and found there the infant Jesus in a manger, as the angel had predicted.

There are two different Adorations of the Infant. The painting showing the shepherds worshiping the baby in a manger is called the Adoration of the Shepherds It is Luke's special contribution to the story of Jesus. The other Adoration is that of the Magi. They are wealthy, wise and rulers as well as being non-Jewish. This is St. Matthew's contribution.

Hugo Van der Goes' Portinari Altarpiece is one of the most renowned versions of this scene. It is prized for being a Flemish painting that was commissioned by a rich Florentine merchant and which still is found in Florence, at the Uffizi. It is famous because of its great size and for its mastery of oil painting. But most of all it is famous for bringing Luke's Shepherds onto to the canvas. The three men have marvelous expressive faces as they discover that the King of Kings is a little vulnerable baby in a humble manger.


This article is copyright 2002-04 by Joseph Phelan. Please do not republish any portion of this article without written permission.


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