The adoration of the shepherd

Tintoretto - 1579-1581
oil on canvas - 542x455 cm
Scuola Grande di San Rocco, Venice

The adoration of the shepherds belongs to the cycle of "Paintings for the Great School of San Rocco", this painting decorates the walls of the upper room.

Here Tintoretto employs an iconography different from the traditional, because the work is located on two floors. In the lower stage there are shepherds with their gifts, a backlit woman, the ox and the staircase leading upstairs. In the upper one, there is the Holy Family and two women who hold out a plate for Jesus. One of the women is shown topless, they where the nurses Zabel and Salome, characters represented in the gospels.

A characteristic feature of this painting is the artificial light, which is present in the beams of the roof, and illuminates the characters tending to detect the magic of the birth of Jesus. Everything is realistically described.