The Adoration of the Shepherds by Carlo Maratta

Adorazione dei Pastori (1656/1657) by Carlo MarattaQuirinale Palace

This extraordinary image exalts the compositional and pictorial qualities of Carlo Maratta, the creator of so many images devoted to the Virgin Mary.

The figure of Mary stands out in the glimmer of the clouds, which penetrate the humble hut

She is surrounded by angels, who are celebrating the birth of Christ the Savior.

One is holding a branch decorated with flowers and another is shaking an incense burner.

One is waving a veil.

Another one is kissing the little hand of Baby Jesus.

Baby Jesus is wrapped in swaddling bands and lying in a manger.

At Mary's side, Joseph is standing and pointing at the baby while turning toward the shepherds.

The shepherds, amazed at the divine event, came to Bethlehem after the Angel announced the birth of the savior to them, as the Gospel according to Saint Luke relates.

The fresco concludes the Stories of the Old and the New Testament (Storie del Vecchio e del Nuovo Testamento), painted on the upper walls of the Gallery of Pope Alexander VII, in which a symbolic reference to the story of the Salvation or the purity of the Virgin Mary can be determined.

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