Bartolomeo of Tommaso, called Bartolomeo from Foligno (1400 ca. before 1454); Tryptic of the Incoronation of the Virgin, the Nativity, and the Adoration of the Magi (known as the ‘Rospigliosi Tryptic’); tempera on poplar; 1445 ca.; Vatican Art Gallery © Musei Vaticani
The iconography of this scene, one part of a large tryptic, is not exactly that of the Nativity. The main episode is that of the Washing of the Child Jesus, which is not described in the New Testament. It was spread mainly through the Golden Legend of Jacob from Varazze, and based on the apocryphal gospels. In the foreground, two women bathe the Child in a tub, as the Virgin Mary lies on straw, covered with a sheet, and Saint Joseph sits nearby in meditation.
(Pope St. Paul VI – Christmas homily 1964)
Under the direction of Paolo Ondarza
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