Khach'atur of Khizan (attrib.), The Nativity

1434-35
Tempera and gold leaf on paper, from "Four Gospels in Armenian"
Metropolitan Museum of Art (2010.108)

The cave common to eastern images of the Nativity is here highly stylized, but the artist preserves the tradition of keeping the mother and child in separate areas of the picture. The figure with the thin staff holding his hand to acclaim the child resembles the shepherd seen in very early Nativities (example). But for that similarity one would tend to interpret him as St. Joseph with his flowering rod. In the lower left corner the prophet Balaam points the way to the star for the three Magi.

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Photographed at the museum by Richard Stracke, shared under Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike license.