Passions & Places

Adorazione dei pastori by Simone De Magistris

The Adoration of the shepherds
by Simone de Magistris
Simone De Magistris-(1538-1613)
Natività (1571)
Pinacoteca Civica

The apparently symmetric and balanced composition fully expresses the Mannerist taste of the Caldarola artist.

The Holy Family is the core of the entire composition. San Nicola Da Tolentino is depicted assisting and taking part to the coral prayer. The Infant seems to be living an independent life while San Giuseppe is attentive in creating a royal leaning back for Jesus and Holy Mary hugs him protectively: he shows himself to the world with confident and sustained motions. He is fearless and looks at those who admire the depiction with a firm gaze.

The work was painted by courtesy of the character that is situated bottom right of the painting. He belonged to a fraternal order. He suggests to watch attentively the scene and to look for the proud look of the Salvator mundi.  The behaviour we are asked to participate to the event is given by one of the two shepherds bottom left, that intimates to the other to be silent.

The straightforward Mannerist method has made us passive actors of this Nativity.

The screen that has been chosen for the event is an unstable building set in an unwelcome nature The depiction of ruins in this kind of iconography reminds to the state of the world after the coming of Christ: ancient time and history have collapsed because a new epoch began where the all universe is conciliated.

The landscape is not really comforting. It is characterized by hamlets of ruined homes, sights of bare land and leafless trees replaced here and there by more flourishing bushes: The birth of the Infant has revealed the frailness of the human beings and of the earth compared to the immortality of God that incarnated.

The gracious and decorative angels in the sky hold the paper where the hymn of praise and glory "to God in the height of the skies and peace on earth to good willing men” is written.

Among the ruins there is an ox under a yoke that reminds of the real reason why the Son of God has come among men: The yoke that Jesus will have to carry is death to redeem men’s sins.

Far left the Magi are getting closer to the devotion place, where the Infant is ready to welcome any one who may want to pay their respects to his divine nature.

The colours De Magistris uses for the characters are acid and honey-like, they shape the cornered and squared figures that are full of life but far away at the same time as if part of a dream of real memory.

by Sara Tassi
Translated by Guendalina Santini
for  Paradise Possible

Copyright© 2007Liberation Ventures Ltd.

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