The Adoration of the Shepherds

The Adoration of the Shepherds
Artist El Greco
Year 1612–14
Medium Oil on canvas
Location Museo del Prado, Madrid
Dimensions 126 in × 71 in
319 cm × 180 cm
Famous Paintings by El Greco
The Disrobing of Christ, 1577–1579
Opening of the Fifth Seal, 1608-1614
Dormition of the Virgin, 1565-1566
The Burial of the Count of Orgaz, 1586
View of Toledo, 1596-1600
The Adoration of the Shepherds, 1612–14
Christ Healing the Blind, c. 1570
The Entombment of Christ, c.1570
St. Martin and the Beggar, 1597-1599
Complete Works

The Adoration of the Shepherds is a painting by the Spanish Renaissance artist, El Greco. He began to work on the painting in 1612, finishing it two years later, just before his death. The painting’s subject is taken from the story of the Nativity: it depicts the shepherds witnessing the miracle represented by the newborn Jesus Christ in the stable where he was born. It is now owned by Madrid’s Museo del Prado.

Artistic Features

As was usual with El Greco’s final works, the bodies of the shepherds are considerably distorted from their natural forms, contrasting with the more classical appearance of the angels who fly above the scene. This, combined with the unusual angles and poses of the characters, was intended to give an impression of ecstatic wonder. There is a great deal of contrast between light and shade in the work, with the combination of this and the picture’s brilliant colors intended to further heighten the sense that the onlooker is witness to a world-changing event.

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