Rogier van der Weyden 1399/1400 – 1464

The Nativity

oil on panel (91 × 89 cm) — c. 1445 - 1448 Museum Gemäldegalerie der Staatlichen Museen, Berlin

Rogier van der Weyden biography

This work is linked to Luke 2:7

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This is the center panel of Rogier van der Weyden's Bladelin triptych. It shows Joseph and Mary kneeling and adoring their newborn son. The city in the background is Bethlehem.

The man in black to the right is Peter Bladelin, who commissioned the triptych. Out of decency he has taken of his hat. He kneels on the spot where often shepherds are depicted.

Despite of the small distance between the figures of Bladelin and the child, Bladelin is never fully part of the depiction. He sits outside the stable, and Van der Weyden took great care not to have his figure overlap Mary's. He thus remains a bystander, an outsider.

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