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The Adoration of the Shepherds

Matthias StomSecond quarter 17th century

Palazzo Madama

Palazzo Madama

All the figures turn their eyes to the Child: the intense light, which according to the story in an apocryphal gospel is said to have burst forth at the moment of the Nativity, coupled with the dark shadows of night were the ideal elements for a seventeenth-century painter fascinated by the work of Caravaggio. Born in the Low Countries, Stomer was part of a large colony of northern European artists working in Rome in that century, following on from Caravaggio and from the Caravaggisti of the north: possibly a pupil of Gerard van Honthorst (known in Italy as Gherardo delle Notti), he spent some time in Rome be-fore moving to Naples (1633-1639), and then to Sicily. A number of different versions of the Adoration are known, but the most similar one is the painting in the collection of the princes of Lichtenstein in Vaduz, which is considered to be from the later years of his stay in Sicily. The Saint Jerome in the Ospedale di Ghemme (Novara) shows how the works of Matthias Stomer also circulated in northern Italy.

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