Caravaggio - Adoration of the Shepherds 1609

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Caravaggio - Adoration of the Shepherds 1609

Adoration of the Shepherds 1609
314x211cm oil/canvas
Museo Regionale, Messina
The image is only being used for informational and educational purposes

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Caravaggio’s Baroque work is starkly different and revolutionary from Renaissance predecessors. To start, these divine figures are represented as ordinary people of the times. They are barefoot with ordinary robes. There is no divinity in the barn, either. There is no holy light source to shine the entire scene and make it overly-apparent that a divine event is occurring. Instead, the background is extremely dark with only a small single light source. It seems as though the space was lit by a single candle, as it might have realistically been during the actual event. We know that in the biblical account, Mary and Joseph were extremely poor. Their halos are almost barely seen, in contrast to the ornate halos of the Renaissance. Other than the halos, the clasped hands of the shepherds is the only thing hinting of any religious importance in the painting. There was nothing overtly marvelous about the birth of Christ. Caravaggio renders this aspect perfectly.