Visiting Masterpieces
The Steven and Dorothea Green Collection
Matthias Stomer: Adoration of the Christ Child

Oh come, let us adore him!

Matthias Stomer
Dutch, active Italy (ca. 1600-after 1652)
Adoration of the Christ Child
ca. 1630
Oil on canvas

Lent by the Steven and Dorothea Green Collection



The words of an old hymn sum up this scene of Christ's nativity. Born to the Virgin Mary who, together with her husband Joseph, knew of his divine origin, Christ was immediately the object of both love and veneration.

Here Mary and Joseph are joined by two other worshippers. While her identity is not certain, it is possible that the older woman is Anna, the Virgin Mary's mother, who is often shown wearing a green cloak over a red robe (green symbolizing spring and rebirth; red standing for love). The younger man may represent one of the shepherds who first heard of Christ's birth from an angel. As they crowd the Christ Child, this family responds to him with gestures of surprise and veneration.

The painter of this noble scene is Matthias Stomer, one of the last Dutch followers of Caravaggio, who worked in Italy most of his adult life. Documented in Rome between 1630 and 1632, he also worked in Naples (1633 to 1639) and finally in Sicily and Messina. He produced a number of religious paintings, including The Mocking of Christ, which is also on display in this gallery.



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