an blog | AJBlog Central | Contact me

Merry Christmas: The Annual Gift

My Christmas painting for RCA readers this year is Domenico Ghirlandaio’s Nativity from the collection of the Fitzwilliam Museum at Cambridge University. It’s dated c. 1492 and was bequeathed to the museum by Charles Brinsley Marlay in 1912.

About 24.4 inches by 33.6 inches, it’s tempera on wood panel, and the provenance line says “he perhaps bought it from Messrs Colnaghi, London.” Interestingly, the painting was “formerly attributed to Mainardi, Sebastiano” but reattributed by E. Fahy in 1998.

As the museum says online, “Domenico Ghirlandaio was the master of one of the biggest, busiest and most successful workshops in Florence at the end of the 15th century”–he taught Michelangelo, among others. There is a bit more about the painter and this work here.

This painting joins other nativities I have highlighted for you in years past by–in reverse order, beginning in 2016–Gentile da Fabriano; Fra Angelico and Filippo Lippi; Francesco di Giorgo Martini; Botticelli; Zaganelli; Fra Angelico, and Petrus Christus.  It all started in 2009, my first year blogging here, when the Nelson-Atkins Museum sent out an email to Kansas City media outlets offering to let them use images of their Christmas art as illustrations. I featured that here, and I think it’s still a good idea for museums to offer.

You can revisit my previous choices by going to archives on the right side of this page, choosing December of each year, and looking for the entry nearest Christmas Day.

Merry, merry to all.

Photo Credit: Courtesy of the Fitzwilliam Museum

an ArtsJournal blog