The Adoration of the Shepherds

Artist: Bartolo di Fredi (Italian, active by 1353–died 1410 Siena)

Date: 1374

Geography: Made in Siena, Italy

Culture: Italian

Medium: Tempera on poplar, gilding

Dimensions: Overall: 69 1/8 x 45 1/8 in. (175.6 x 114.6 cm)
Painted surface: 63 1/4 x 45 1/8 in. (160.7 x 114.6 cm)

Classification: Paintings-Panels

Credit Line: The Cloisters Collection, 1925

Accession Number: 25.120.288


Once the central panel of an altarpiece, this painting simultaneously depicts the Adoration of the Christ Child and the Annunciation to the Shepherds, shown in the upper right. To create clear spatial relationships, the artist employed overlapping planes and daring, if naive, perspective—most evident in the projecting roof of the stable. The setting of the narrative combines the Byzantine tradition of representing the Adoration in a cave with the Western iconography of a stable. This panel may have been flanked by single panels depicting standing saints.