MS M.69, fols. 26v–27r

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Adoration of the Shepherds; Fall of Man

Farnese Hours, in Latin
Illuminated by Giulio Clovio (1498–1578)

Italy, Rome
1546
6 3/4 x 4 3/8 inches (173 x 110 mm)

Purchased by Pierpont Morgan, 1903

MS M.69 (fols. 26v–27r)
Item description: 

The Farnese Hours, the last great Italian Renaissance manuscript, was highly praised in Vasari's Lives of the Painters (1568). Of Clovio, a Croatian, Vasari said that there "has never been . . . a more rare painter of little things," calling him a "new, if smaller Michelangelo." Here the bareness of the Adoration of the Shepherds is contrasted with the lushness of paradise. The dramatic light generated by Jesus derives from the Revelations of St. Bridget, as does the motif of the Virgin exposing the Christ child—the shepherds had not been told the child's gender. Many details from the Fall of Man are based on Dürer's famous engraving of 1504.