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Samuel H. Kress Paintings Collection

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The Nativity


Artist: Paolo Fiammingo (ca. 1540 - 1596)
Date: ca. 1577-1582
Dimensions: 45 x 38.88 in. (114.3 x 98.74 cm)
Dimensions Extent: canvas
Object Type: Painting
Creation Place: Europe, Italy
Medium and Support: Oil on canvas
Credit Line: Gift of the Samuel H. Kress Foundation via The Discovery Museum, Bridgeport, CT
Accession Number: 2009.01.07
On View: Bellarmine Hall Galleries


Fiammingo’s birth name was Pauwels Franck, but he is better known today by his Italian nickname, which translates to “Paul the Fleming.” By 1573, Fiammingo was in Venice working in the studio of Jacopo Tintoretto as a specialist in landscape painting. His Nativity takes place in a bustling village, attended by witnesses in contemporary 16th-century dress, an unusual setting that reflects the artist’s Flemish background (Flemish artists were known for their interest in the realism of daily life). The handling of paint, in contrast, shows the influence of Fiammingo’s Venetian training – the infant Jesus is painted with such loose, painterly strokes that he appears to dissolve upon close inspection.

This painting was part of the group of works donated by the Samuel H. Kress Foundation to the Museum of Art, Science and Industry in Bridgeport, CT in 1962. When that museum became the Discovery Museum in the early 1990's, the Kress paintings were transferred to Fairfield University, where they formed the core of what would become the Fairfield University Art Museum.



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