"Nativity Adoration Of The Shepherds, Gaspar De Crayer (1582 - 1662)"Flemish School of the workshop of Gaspar de Crayer (Antwerp 1582 - Ghent 1662)
Nativity with adoration of the shepherds
cm. 141 x 172
Coat of noble family (to be studied) on the lower left
This spectacular adoration of the shepherds is a work which, despite its large dimensions, manages to convey a deep feeling of intimacy, capable of combining the representation of the gesture of devotion with excellence with intense humanity that shines through all the characters, expression of a concrete and tangible rural world. A deep humanity that brings its own simple daily life (iconic in this sense is for example the dog, symbol of loyalty, bottom right) in the presence of the Divine. The shepherds are as usual in the presence of the Holy Family, but show them that the baby is not the mother, but one of two figures of winged angels. The latter, distinguished by a beauty almost ethereal, gives a look full of sweetness to the only woman among the shepherds, enriching the already evocative atmosphere by the clever use of light that radiates the scene. In fact, the most obvious feature of the work is the ability to transform the Nativity pattern into a confidential meeting that unites on the same ground and distributes the same character to divine and human characters. The balance that distinguishes our work is also the result of a perfect symmetry between the characters and the range of subtle colors, distributed with a calibration studied. The preciousness and elegance of the characters are emphasized by a multitude of draperies animated by chiaroscuro games that give volume and movement to the characters. We can not fail to grasp the intense physiognomic characterization of the characters, the pair of shepherds in the foreground and the angel in particular, an element that suggests drawing the portraits of the clients of the painting. From an attribution point of view, the typology of the faces, some of an intense beauty, and the details with which the figures have been drawn, extremely pleasant in the chromatic and luminous effects, show clear references to the Nordic school, undeniably Flemish. Further study could lead us to refine the attributive field by endangering the name of the FlemishGaspar de Crayer (Antwerp, 1582 - Ghent, 1662), with whom the composition on the examination has multiple affinities.
Compare some details with the magnificent Adoration of the Shepherds of the Rijksmuseum in Amsterdam (photo 1) or the Adoration of the Magi at St. Martin's Church in Courtai, Belgium (photo 2).
Born in Antwerp, he lived in Brussels and Ghent and collaborated, from 1610, in the studio of Rubens who, after the death of his colleague, completed some of the works commissioned from the master. His long career lasted sixty years: it is no coincidence that Crayer was one of the most productive painters of the last Flemish school. His paintings are found in large numbers in the churches and museums of Brussels and Ghent, but he was also known outside his home country. France, for example, is very rich in works of Crayer, seized in Belgian churches during the Revolution.
Besides the model of Rubens, the Venetian influence of Titian and Veronese is evident in his works. But also that of the school of Bologna and a little caravagism.
The coat of arms, which appears clearly on the lower left, suggests that the work had a private commission, perhaps a tribute to the noble family or the brotherhood of the client.
The canvas is in excellent condition. Work accompanied by an expertise of authenticity.