The Adoration of the Shepherds

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Despite its large size, this depiction of the birth of Jesus has a strong sense of intimacy. Preti has combined the everyday with the divine. The ideal, classical beauty of the young Virgin is contrasted with elements of realism, such as Joseph’s weathered face and the battered interior of the stable. This image would have been relatable to poorer people in the 17th century. At the time, it was popular to combine devotional images with believable humanity. The painting is part of a series of four works by Preti of Christ’s life, all of which are in the Walker’s collection. All four came from a Neapolitan nobleman’s collection.