Domenico Ghirlandaio

Hi everyone! This week I wanted to go over a painter who was active in 15th century Italy. I learned about him in class, and I wanted to share him with you guys! Domenico Ghirlandaio was a Renaissance artist born in Florence. He lived from 1448 to 1494. He was born under the name Domenico di Tommaso di Currado di Doffo Bigordi (yikes! such a long name). Ghirlandaio was extremely talented in painting frescoes and creating making portraits.

Today, I wanted to talk about one of his altarpieces called the Adoration of the Shepherds. It was made for the Sassetti family and placed in a Chapel of Santa Trinita. It was created in 1482 to 1485.

Cappella_Sassetti_Adoration_of_the_ShepherdsThe Adoration of the Shepherds is expresses a time period after the birth of Christ, in which people came to visit and see Baby Christ. We can see this here with the multitude of  individuals coming to Christ. Christ is placed on the mantle of Mary that is on the ground. This references to the humility of Christ, and this was a new concept being represented with Christ. Mary is praying to her baby. The men on the right of the painting are representing Shepherds. The one pointing at Christ is meant to be a self-portrait of Ghirlandaio. There is a roman style coffin behind Christ, which references the eventually death of Christ.

The background is not placed in Bethlehem, but instead in Geneva, Switzerland where the patron, the Francesco Sassetti, received his wealth from by being a Medici banker manager.

Domenico Ghirlandaio was considered to be a successful artist of the time. He incorporated techniques and styles that patrons wanted and that were valued at the time. Just looking at the Adoration of the Shepherds, you can see the individualistic facial structures, the vast amount of depth and space in the background, and the soft qualities of the painting.

Ghirlandaio, Vocation of the Apostles, 1481-2

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