This is a typical and very fine work of Benvenuto Tisi’s middle period, from about 1520 to 1530. The Madonna is seated in the center foreground holding the Christ child as Joseph stands behind her, silhouetted against the dark entrance to the cave. They are surrounded by the Magi and a group of followers extends into the distant landscape. With a dark cave entrance, trees in the center, and a view of the distant landscape, the composition recalls Giorgione’s Nativity. According to Vasari, the two artists had a friendly personal relationship, which could explain the compositional similarities.


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