Master Of The Greenville Tondo

Italian (active c. 1454–1513)

Adoration of the Christ Child by Mary and Joseph

early 16th–century

Oil on panel

Gift of Dr. and Mrs. Vance Bishop

1976.3

Renaissance religious art was made to inspire and educate the viewer. This painting focuses on four scenes. Mary and Joseph, youthful angels at their side, kneel in adoration of the Christ Child, who lies on the ground with his head resting in a bundle of wheat, which is symbolic of Bethlehem (“house of bread” in Hebrew) and the sacrament of Communion. In the upper left corner an angel announces the birth of Jesus to the shepherds. In the center background are three Magi with their retinue, while to the right Mary, holding Jesus in her arms, rides on a donkey on the Holy Family’s flight into Egypt. This painting is by the same artist who created a tondo (circular painting) in the collection of the Bob Jones University Museum in Greenville, South Carolina. The artist is not known, so art historians call him the Master of the Greenville Tondo.

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