Domenico Ghirlandaio, The Life of the Virgin Mary
Bottom Register: Expulsion of Joachim and the Birth of Mary

Capella Maggiore, Church of Santa Maria Novella, Florence

In this episode from the Golden Legend and its sources Joachim's "offering" is rejected because he has not fathered a child in his twenty years of marriage and is therefore considered unclean. None of the texts specify what is offered, but in Ghirlandaio's fresco, as in Giotto's, it is a lamb. In this image, the humiliation that Joachim laments in the texts is emphasized by the acceptance of lambs offered in the background. Perhaps the humiliation is intensified by the fact that one of the offered lambs is black and dead while another is being brought by women.

View the entire fresco
Read more about images of St. Joachim.
Read more about images of the birth of the Virgin.

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