Rogier van der Weyden, The Bladelin Triptych

Oil on oak panel, 35⅞ x 35 in. (91 x 89 cm.) Staatliche Museen, Berlin

For the most part, the chief figures in the painting are as described in the vision of St. Bridget of Sweden: the angels and parents kneeling in adoration of the naked child, St. Joseph with a candle, Mary's hands pressed together and her head tilted toward the Savior. The one un-Brigettine note is the light that emanates from Mary's head, seeming to outdo the light from the child.

The depiction of the stable as a ruined church both recalls the Golden Legend's account of the collapse of Rome's Temple of Peace at the moment of Christ's birth and points to the eucharistic significance of the tiny body that is the center of attention.

More of the Nativity

Source: Web Gallery of Art