Bonifazio Veronese
The Adoration of the Shepherds, n.d.
Oil on canvas, 117,5 x 171,5 cm.
Inventory number: 0007NMK
Bestowed, 1908


With a magnificent ancient building in the background, the Virgin Mary presents her newborn child to the kneeling shepherds. They express their reverence for the Holy Child in different ways; one removes his hat, another kneels, while the third shepherd presents a lamb to Joseph. In addition to being a sacrificial gift for the child, the lamb also symbolises Christ the Saviour, who sacrifices his life for humankind. Veronese’s scene is to a certain degree influenced by the sacra conversazione tradition, where the Virgin and Child are typically surrounded by saints in a contemplative gathering. In this scene the Holy Family is worshipped by humble shepherds rather than elevated saints, however. The lush landscape with mountains in background indicates a strong influence from his colleague Palma Vecchio and his paintings of the Holy Family in the countryside.


Bonifazio Veronese (ca. 1487-1553)
Bonifazio came to Venice at a young age, where he founded a large and successful workshop. His students include Tintoretto and Jacopo Bassano, two of Venetian Mannerism’s greatest masters. Bonifacio’s art writes itself into in the mature Classicism of the High Renaissance. His paintings are highly influenced by great Venetian masters such as Giorgione and Titian. The subjects are religious, the compositions often relief-like and his figures characterised by their small, round heads and splendid dress in warm, subdued colours.

Translator: The translation agency Diction – J. Niclas B. Jensen

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