Jacques Stella spent eighteen years in Italy where he became a close friend of Poussin. On his return to France he became Cardinal Richelieu's official painter. This classical picture depicts a quiet moment of delight shared by Mary and Joseph at the birth of Christ. In the background an angel can be seen announcing the birth to the shepherds, one of whom raises his arms in wonder. The broken architecture in the foreground is not just a picturesque detail but also a symbol for the end of pagan religion.
Title: The Nativity
Object number: B.M.60
Production period: 17th century
Object name: French School of Paintings