About This Artwork

Donatello, Circle of
Italian, 1386/7-1466

The Nativity, c. 1465

Stucco and polychrome
72.4 x 78.7 x 12.1 cm (28 1/2 x 31 x 4 3/4 in.)

Mr. and Mrs. Martin A. Ryerson Collection, 1933.1007

This relief shows the Virgin worshipping the Christ Child, framed by an ox and an ass, while Saint Joseph sleeps at the right. It is typical of a kind of popular, devotional image from the 15th century that could be mechanically reproduced. This composition exists in numerous replicas, which attest to its popularity, and appears to derive from a directly modeled terracotta prototype, now in Prato, Italy. The Virgin and Child are based on an autograph terracotta by Donatello, but the remainder of the composition appears to have been expanded by another hand.

— Permanent collection label

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