Luca Giordano
The Birth of the Virgin

1674
Church of Santa Maria della Salute, Venice

As in many paintings of this event in the 17th and 18th centuries, a large number of figures attend the birth, including an aged St. Joachim.

Bambini's 1710 Birth of the Virgin, at Santo Stefano in Venice, follows the composition of this painting quite closely. Bambini was born in Venice and did most of his work there, so he would surely have seen Giordano's work in Santa Maria della Salute. Both painters place the Father and Holy Spirit among angels the in Heaven, and in both the Father and St. Anne look directly at each other. In both, the flow of light from Father and Spirit to the baby suggest the doctrine of the Trinity. Also, both follow the example of Le Nain's 1645 canvas in putting the baby in the arms of a youthful wet nurse, not a midwife as in medieval and Renaissance examples.

This image in full resolution
Photographs of the Bambini and Le Nain paintings: See the Web Gallery of Art.
More of Mary's birth and childhood

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