Adoration of the Shepherds by Andrea Mantegna

Adoration of the Shepherds by Andrea Mantegna

Creativity Mantegna is a major, in fact, the first truly Renaissance master in Northern Italy.

Mantegna perceives the events of the Christian history as something very close, therefore in his picture there are many living details – the posture of the dozing Joseph, the tattered clothes of shepherds who came from afar, the common people of these people. But at the same time, depicting adult participants in the scene, the artist slightly changed the usual human proportions, endowing the characters with an unusually high height. The main characters are close to the viewer, while the landscape dramatically recedes into the distance, which emphasizes the solemnity of the whole scene.

The landscape with its harsh rocky landscape, which distinguishes many paintings of Mantegna, reinforces the impression of the power of the canvas. The scene of worship unfolds on a platform resembling a mountain plateau, there is a rock in the distance, a sawn tree with slightly regrown branches on the right, a mountain almost devoid of vegetation, and only in the distance is a green hill visible. The painting of Mantegna is bright and dry, as if fanned by a hot wind, and the air is so transparent that the smallest details are visible in the distance.

The artist’s sacred history transforms the earth, he seems to remind that after the coming of Christ, the whole face of this world has changed and man cannot live as before: he must become stronger. It is surprising that such an impression is made by a very small, like many easel works by Mantegna, a picture; it was not for nothing that he became famous as a monumentalist.

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