National Gallery of Art - THE COLLECTION
image of The Nativity Perino del Vaga (artist)
Italian, 1501 - 1547
The Nativity, 1534
oil on panel transferred to canvas
overall: 274.4 x 221.1 cm (108 1/16 x 87 1/16 in.) framed: 302 x 248.9 x 9.8 cm (118 7/8 x 98 x 3 7/8 in.)
Samuel H. Kress Collection
1961.9.31
Not on View
From the Tour: Mannerism
Object 4 of 8

Perino was born in Florence but trained in Rome, in Raphael’s studio. He extended Raphael&rsqu;s feeling for ornament, making fluid patterns an important element of his own style. Perino’s decorative ornamentation, in turn, influenced the next generation of mannerists in Rome.

This early work was painted for a family chapel in Genoa, where Perino had settled after the sack of Rome in 1527. Here the Holy Family is surrounded by saints. John the Baptist, Catherine of Alexandria, and James Major were probably name saints of the painting’s patrons; Roch and Sebastian were patrons of plague victims. (Plague devastated many Italian towns, including Genoa, following the sack of Rome.) In the background, a man carries a bound lamb into the temple. The painting would have been installed over the altar in a funerary chapel, a backdrop to masses said for the dead.

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