From Botticelli to Caravaggio, the Nativity has inspired some of the most moving portraits of the Renaissance
Described in the Biblical gospels of Luke and Matthew, the birth of Jesus has inspired many great artists throughout history. Some of the most moving portraits of the Nativity were crafted during the Renaissance, when artists focused on naturalistic, life-like portraits of both people and landscapes. Here are some of the most beautiful depictions of the Nativity from the Renaissance era.
Sandro Botticelli, Nativity of Jesus, (1473-1475)
In this portrait, Sandro Botticelli follows the descriptions provided by St. Bridget of Sweden. Mary and her husband Joseph are sitting in adoration of newborn Jesus. Ox and ass are located behind a manger of intricately woven branches. Botticelli added some additional figures on top of those described by St. Bridget: a young John the Baptist, located to the right of Jesus, and an angel singing from a song book towards a group of shepherds approaching from the left.