Adoration of the Shepherds

Baciccio (Giovanni Battista Gaulli)about 1672

The J. Paul Getty Museum

The J. Paul Getty Museum
Los Angeles, United States

Two angels swoop down to hover above the manger where the infant Jesus lies sleeping on a pile of straw, cradled by his mother Mary. Numerous other angels peer over her shoulders, eagerly crowding around Joseph to catch a glimpse of the infant Christ, while local shepherds kneel to pay homage with their backs turned to the viewer.

Baciccio concentrated on rendering the powerful effects of light in this preparatory study for his painting of the same subject in a church in central Italy. Light seems to radiate from the baby, casting a brilliant glow over the faces of those gathered around his crib. In contrast, broad areas of wash create bold shadows over the bodies of the shepherds crouched on the edge of the drawing. Baciccio also used exuberant, free lines that give the scene a sense of dynamic movement.


  • Title: Adoration of the Shepherds
  • Creator: Baciccio (Giovanni Battista Gaulli)
  • Date Created: about 1672
  • Physical Dimensions: 27.1 × 21.3 cm (10 11/16 × 8 3/8 in.)
  • Type: Drawing
  • External Link: Find out more about this object on the Museum website.
  • Medium: Pen and brown ink, brown wash, white gouache heightening and black chalk
  • Terms of Use: Open Content
  • Number: 87.GG.19
  • Culture: Italian
  • Credit Line: The J. Paul Getty Museum, Los Angeles
  • Creator Display Name: Baciccio (Giovanni Battista Gaulli) (Italian, 1639 - 1709)
  • Classification: Drawings (Visual Works)

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