Tempera and gold leaf on parchment; 9 3/5 x 5 4/5 in. (24.4 x 15.2 cm)
Robert Lehman Collection, 1975 (1975.1.2491)
Francesco Marmitta was a painter and engraver of gems. Praised by the sixteenth-century biographer Giorgio Vasari, he is little known today. The Adoration of the Shepherds in the Robert Lehman Collection is one of only a few works attributed to this mysterious artist. The miniature does not appear to have been removed from an illuminated manuscript and is thus unusual in having been created as an independent object for private devotion. The work once belonged to Pope Clement VII de' Medici (r. 152334) and later to Christina of Lorraine, grand duchess of Tuscany. This history is recorded in a letter written in Rome and dated February 7, 1591, which was glued to the reverse of the miniature.