Girolamo Siciolante da Sermoneta (1521-80)
Nativity of the Virgin

Fresco
Church of Santa Maria dell'Anima, Rome

As in most Renaissance Birth of the Virgin paintings, the scene is a room in a comfortable private home, with the mother reclining in bed and attended by about a half-dozen servants. The sturdy young woman lifting the baby up from the basin is like the midwives in medieval versions. But she seems like a younger version of Anne, with her broad shoulders, her youthful appearance, and the echo of Anne's clothing in her white overdress and headband. (The headband may allude to the one offered to Anne by her maid-servant in the Protevangelium as an earnest that "the great day of the Lord is at hand.")

Not all Birth of the Virgin paintings include Joachim, but when they do he is often seen entering the frame, as here, rather than in the midst of the action.

More of the Nativity of the Virgin

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