Duccio di Buoninsegna ca. 1255 – 1319

The Nativity (Maestà)

tempera on panel (43 × 44 cm) — 1308-11 Museum National Gallery of Art, Washington DC

Duccio di Buoninsegna biography

This work is linked to Luke 2:7

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This is the central part of a panel from the predella (pedestal) of Duccio's great Maestà. In the center are Mary and her newborn son, who is wrapped in swaddling clothes and lying in a manger. The light of a star falls on his face.

Joseph is on the left. The Annunciation to the Shepherds is shown on the right. At the bottom, the child is being washed by two midwives.

Following Byzantine tradition, Duccio placed the scene in a cave. At the same time, he also shows a stable with a donkey and an ox: a novelty originating from the Northern European Gothic style.

On the same panel Duccio showed two prophets, Isaiah and Ezekiel. They both made prophecies about the birth of the Messiah.

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