ASK FATHER: Your favorite Nativity image

From a reader…

QUAERITUR:

What is your favorite Christmas image?

Well, a rather personal and extremely difficult question.

Without a lot of reflection, what came quickly to mind is the 1597 painting in the Prado by Federico Barocci.

There’s stillness and there’s action.  The composition is simple.  Follow the lines.  Look for the light source!

Favorite?  This is one of them.

About Fr. John Zuhlsdorf

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12 Responses to ASK FATHER: Your favorite Nativity image

  1. benedetta says:

    How very beautiful. A Merry Christmas to all!

  2. Grant M says:

    I remember this. It was the New Zealand Christmas stamp for 1969. I was 12.
    https://stampsnz.com/1969_christmas.html
    The catalog in the link above credits the painting to Frederico Fiori, but according to Wikipedia that is the same person as F Barocci.

  3. Fr. Reader says:

    The adoration of the Magi. Da Vinci.

  4. Fr. Reader says:

    The adoration of the Magi. Da Vinci.

  5. Akita says:

    Yes, a beautiful rendering. I saved it as my phone’s wallpaper.

  6. Jann says:

    Adoration of the Magi – Gentile da Fabriano

  7. Benedict Joseph says:

    George de la Tour has a stunning Nativity, and Murillo has a couple [and of course, he has a wonder “Flight into Egypt” housed in Detroit]. Both artists bring a certain sense of intimacy, warmth and a wholesome sense of poverty to the Mystery.

  8. Josephus Corvus says:

    Nativity by Lorenzo Lotto – 1523. One of the few that I’ve ever seen that contains a reminder of what this is all about. Merry Christmas!

  9. I think my personal favorite is the one by Gerritt van Honthorst showing the adoration of the shepherds. I like the rough tenderness of the shepherds, and I love how St. Joseph is so lost in smiling contemplation of the shining Christ Child that he is using the ox for an armrest.

  10. JulieHoward says:

    I think every year I find yet another Nativity I really like. I love Caravaggio artwork. But most of the Nativity artwork I’ve snitched I don’t know the artist’s name. I guess one of my all time favorite Nativity is by Lorenzo Lotto, because I love the crucifix in the artwork.

  11. Malta says:

    The Vatican has the best–at least last year’s: https://thecatholictraveler.com/christmas-vatican-2017-nativity-scene/

    I didn’t include a post with images of it, because it gave me, and adult, nightmares. Francis probably liked it.

  12. Grant M says:

    Talking of NZ Christmas stamps, they provided some of my first memorable Christmas images, especially the now classic issues from 1960 to c. 1969 that appeared as I was a young and impressionable child.
    https://stampsnz.com/christmas.html

    There was the Adoration of the Magi by Dürer, 1961, the Madonna in prayer by Sassoferato, 1962, the Holy Family by Titian, 1963, the two Trinities by Murillo, 1965, and Adoration of the Child by Honthorst, 1968. I had all the issues from 1960 to the mid seventies in an album at one stage. Even in reduced stamp form they made a strong impression on my young mind.