Francesco Vanni (Italian, 1563–1610) A heavenly light emanating from the Christ child in the manger casts a glow over the faces of both his parents, who crouch before him in the gloom. As the Virgin Mary kneels beside her son's bed, lines of white gouache highlight the folds in her dress, her forehead, nose, and chin. An ox and an ass lean over her shoulder to nibble at the hay in the manger, ignoring the baby in the basket. The figure of Saint Joseph also glows from the light cast from the left, while his back remains in the inky darkness. Above the stable numerous angels and cherubs hover, watching the events below. The angel Gabriel floats in the center of the drawing, while the others cluster around in the clouds and even peak through the crib. The elaborate technique, high degree of detail, and squaring all lead scholars to believe that Francesco Vanni made this work in preparation for a painting, although no known work corresponds to it.
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Artwork in this collection is from The J. Paul Getty Museum. Reproduction rights are reserved by the copyright owner and used under license by Archivea GmbH. .