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Maker(s):Quellinus, Erasmus II
Culture:Flemish (1607 - 1678)
Title:Adoration of the Shepherds
Date Made:1690
Materials:oil on canvas
Measurements:stretcher: 69 1/4 x 85 3/4 in.; 175.895 x 217.805 cm
Narrative Inscription:  signed and dated: E. Quellinus A 1669
Accession Number:  SC 2002.1
Credit Line:Purchased with the Hillyer-Tryon-Mather Fund, Beatrice O. Chace, class of 1928 Fund, the fund in honor of Charles Chetham, Janet Wright Ketcham, class of 1953, Acquisition Fund, Diane Allen Nixon, class of 1957, Fund, Katherine S. Pearce, class of 1915, Fund, Madeleine H. Russell, class of 1937, Fund, with restricted acquisition funds, and funds realized from the sale of works given by Caroline R. Wing, class of 1896, Adeline F. Wing, class of 1898, and Mr. and Mrs. Allan D. Emil
Museum Collection:  Smith College Museum of Art

Currently on view

Label Text:
Winged celestial children called putti fill the sky. Their banner, translated from Latin, declares “Glory to God in the highest and on earth peace.” The phrase appears in the Bible’s Book of Luke as part of the announcement by angels to shepherds of the birth of Jesus Christ.

Erasmus Quellinus II, Antwerp’s leading artist and successor to the master Peter Paul Rubens, dramatically depicts the moment that the shepherds arrive to see the Christ child lying in a manger. Some pray or gesture excitedly as Mary holds her son in her arms. The work has a number of elements that refer to classical antiquity, including the columns surrounding the wooden stable. Details like the putti forking hay from the loft for the animals add humor to the solemn joy of the scene.

This large canvas was probably painted for a public or private chapel and was intended to be seen from below.

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