Passions & Places

Adorazione dei pastori di Pieter Paul Rubens

The Shepherds Adoration
by Pieter Paul Rubens
P. P. Rubens (1577-1640) 
Adorazione dei Pastori (1607)

Chiesa di San Filippo

The masterpiece of the artist from Anversa dates back to 1607. It was brought back to light thanks to Roberto Longhi Historian of Arts, that was visiting the city of Fermo in 1927 and recognized the marvellous painting that had long been forgotten.

The painting was commissioned by Flaminio Ricci, one of the Filippine Order, that wanted it done during the years of his stay in Rome.

The painting strip is a perfect harmony of Italian masters such as Correggio, Tiziano and the young Caravaggio, that have been chosen as a model by the Flemish Art.

The iconography choice of the Adoration of the shepherds instead of the Nativity is given to Ricci: the aim was perpetrating in Art the pauperistic matrix that the Philippine order predicated.

The bright event of the birth of the Infant is remarkable in the dark night. It can be seen as a miracle by those that the angels have chosen to announce the good novelty.

The Holy Mary is an adult woman, wrapped in grace. She unveils the Infant to show it to the incredulous and wondering crowd. In her glance the knowledge that that son that she has kept in her womb is bound to redeem men's sin.

A metaphysic light irradiates from the plump and sleeping body of Christ. It dilates in the space revealing the face of those who came to adore him.

Each character reacts in a personal way to the sight of the Infant: a woman in the background with a basket shows a maternal tenderness at the sight of the small creature, an old lady looks up at the sky with her hands towards the sky in a hieratic gesture of prayer. The shepherd in the foreground betrays the human stupor in front of such a divine prodigy and addresses the other shepherd on the left, pointing Jesus to him. This man is blinded by the intensity of the Infant brightness as soon as he arrives. He is compelled to shadow his face with an hand.

  In the twilight Joseph stands behind Mary: three beautiful angels in the sky attract his attention. They are the angels that have brought the announcement to the shepherds and, like the by-standers, they get closer to Jesus to enjoy his presence on earth.

  Colours are masterfully modulated to convey a chiaroscuro effect reminding of the "Night” by Correggio and making the enchanting background atmosphere Baroque like.

by Sara Tassi
Translated by Guendalina Santini
for  Paradise Possible

Copyright© 2007Liberation Ventures Ltd.

 | Map  |  Print  |