In this charming Nativity scene celebrating the Holy Family in humble surroundings, the Child is the focus of attention as Mary and Joseph kneel beside him in worship. A shepherd bearing a sheep enters at the left, and an ox and ass are in attendance at the right. Radiant clouds beam down, while a sturdy little booted angel hovers above bearing a scroll, whose Latin inscription proclaims "Glory to God in the highest." A few Peruvian flowers bloom at the foot of the manger.
Both Christmas and Easter, the most important celebrations of the Christian calendar, were successfully transplanted from Europe into the New World. Christmas took on special significance in Latin America, where close family relationships, particularly those between parent and child, had been long revered by the Indian population, and later by the mestizos of mixed European and American Indian ancestry. Christmas imagery was adapted to local tastes and traditions by native artists working from European models.
- Artist: Cuzco School
- Medium: Oil on canvas
- Place Made: Peru
- Dates: mid-18th century
- Dimensions: 29 3/8 x 39 1/2 in. (74.6 x 100.3 cm) (show scale)
- Inscriptions: Top center, on banderole: " Gloria. inexselsis. Deo."
- Collections:American Art
- Museum Location: This item is not on view
- Accession Number: 41.1275.185
- Credit Line: Museum Expedition 1941, Frank L. Babbott Fund
- Rights Statement: No known copyright restrictions
- Caption: Cuzco School. The Nativity, mid-18th century. Oil on canvas, 29 3/8 x 39 1/2 in. (74.6 x 100.3 cm). Brooklyn Museum, Museum Expedition 1941, Frank L. Babbott Fund, 41.1275.185
- Record Completeness: Best (88%)