The painting under consideration entitled ‘The Adoration of the Shepherds’ was created by Andrea Mantegna in 1450. The dimensions of the painting are 40 x 55.6 cm.
The medium is tempera on canvas. Notably, the painting was transferred from wood. The painter used rich and bright colors. The picture reveals images of Christ, Maria, Joseph, two shepherds in the foreground and two figures of poor people in the background. It is necessary to note that the painter used lighter and brighter colors when painting the figures of Christ, Joseph and Maria. Thus, the painter makes the three figures stand out against the rest of the objects depicted (making them special).
Maria is depicted in the center of the painting which hints that the Virgin is central to the painting. Mantegna was famous for his precision. The painting under consideration justifies this fame as the painting is full of thoughtful details. The painter revealed facial expressions and clothes in detail. He also paid much attention to the background. For instance, the hill and the rock in the background are really stunning. The artist was also precise when depicting the sky. Perhaps, this precision makes the picture so lively and appealing.
It is important to note that the picture depicts one of the central stories in Christianity. Notably, at that time people were religious and there was no other religion than Catholicism in Italy and other western European countries. People followed all the conventions ‘prescribed’ and they regarded with profound reverence major figures, such as Christ, Maria, Joseph. This deep reverence is manifested in the picture where the figure of Maria, Christ and Joseph stand out against the other images. The central figure of the painting is Maria. Her posture reveals her resignation and dignity. These two qualities of the Virgin were appreciated the most at the time when the painting was created.
It is also important to note that the artist was also precise when depicting the figures of shepherds. The viewer can understand the position of poor people at that time. They were wearing rags. They were accustomed to their position of suppressed people (the posture of these people suggests that they hardly ever stopped bowing).
They were dirty and miserable, but they had great faith in their hearts. This faith is what the artist portrayed perfectly well. However, the central theme of the painting is the story of the Christ’s birth. The painter depicts the jolly event using really bright colors. As far as I am concerned, the painting is a great work of the Age of Renaissance. Mantegna exploited one of the central stories of Christianity. Obviously, the painter was raised in the epoch when religion was the only possible rule.
The painting reveals this importance of Christianity in life of people who lived in the Age of Renaissance. Notably, painters were not suppressed by conventions of the Middle Ages anymore and they could reveal the beauty of their religion. The painting makes me feel the beauty of Christianity as well. I start thinking of my own faith and the role of religion in my life.
As for me, this is one of the best proofs that the painting is worthy. I believe that paintings should make people think of really important things. The Adoration of the Shepherds is one of such evoking pictures. This is one of those pictures that make people attempt to become better than they are.