Per la Nativita di Nostro Signore
Esther Frances (Francesca) Alexander
In this exquisite drawing, a buttercup plant, rendered in fine, precise pen strokes applied in a stippled pattern, is nestled between the lyrics of an Italian folk ballad about Saint Zita. Although the floral decoration is not explicitly related to the song, the plant seems to interact with the verse, with a few bladelike leaves overlapping the text registers.
An expatriate living in Florence, Francesca Alexander gained international attention through the advocacy of the famous English art critic John Ruskin, who admired her artistic naturalism and religious piety. Ruskin helped her publish a compilation of embellished song sheets, including S. Zita, as Roadside Songs of Tuscany (1884–85).
Pen and ink on paper
Sheet: 15 1/8 x 10 15/16 in. (38.4 x 27.8 cm) (show scale)
Inscribed upper right corner in ink: "xcvii"
This item is not on view
Dick S. Ramsay Fund
No known copyright restrictions
This work may be in the public domain in the United States. Works created by United States and non-United States nationals published prior to 1923 are in the public domain, subject to the terms of any applicable treaty or agreement.
You may download and use Brooklyn Museum images of this work. Please include caption information from this page and credit the Brooklyn Museum. If you need a high resolution file, please contact firstname.lastname@example.org
The Museum does not warrant that the use of this work will not infringe on the rights of third parties, such as artists or artists' heirs holding the rights to the work. It is your responsibility to determine and satisfy copyright or other use restrictions before copying, transmitting, or making other use of protected items beyond that allowed by "fair use," as such term is understood under the United States Copyright Act.
The Brooklyn Museum makes no representations or warranties with respect to the application or terms of any international agreement governing copyright protection in the United States for works created by foreign nationals.
For further information about copyright, we recommend resources at the United States Library of Congress
, Cornell University
, Copyright and Cultural Institutions: Guidelines for U.S. Libraries, Archives, and Museums
, and Copyright Watch
For more information about the Museum's rights project, including how rights types are assigned, please see our blog posts on copyright
If you have any information regarding this work and rights to it, please contact email@example.com
Esther Frances (Francesca) Alexander (American, 1837-1917). Per la Nativita di Nostro Signore, 1868-1882. Pen and ink on paper, Sheet: 15 1/8 x 10 15/16 in. (38.4 x 27.8 cm). Brooklyn Museum, Dick S. Ramsay Fund, 83.33.2
overall, 83.33.2_IMLS_PS3.jpg. Brooklyn Museum photograph
"CUR" at the beginning of an image file name means that the image was created by a curatorial staff member. These study images may be digital point-and-shoot photographs, when we don\'t yet have high-quality studio photography, or they may be scans of older negatives, slides, or photographic prints, providing historical documentation of the object.
This drawing is one of a set of 122 illustrations the artist made for "Roadside Songs of Tuscany" (English edition, 1885; American edition, 1897).
Sheet with music for hymn in upper half; in lower half, two verses flanking drawing of irises and, along bottom, inscribed banner.
Verse at left, in English, reads: "Unto Bethlehem let us depart, / Ere the cold Winter morning shall break: / I would see thee, oh heart of my heart, / Born on earth, a poor child, for my sake! / Jesus, who art precious to see! / E'en from heaven, love hath brought thee to me. / Oh believers, come with me and gaze / O this sun which at midnight arose! / He who warms all the earth with his rays, / Hath come down with the frost and the snows. / Wonder and praise! There doth he lie! / Yet his throne is of stars in the sky!"
Verse at right, in Italian, reads: "A Bethlem, a Bethlem, oh cuor mio, Andiam pure, con rapido piè: E vedremo fatt'uomo quel Dio / Ch'or languisce, vagisce per me! / O Gesu mio, cuor del mio cuore! / Fin dal Cielo ti trasse l'amore. / Oh fedeli, venite, mirate, / Che bel sole di note spuntò! / Ecco, rema fra l'ombre gelate, / Chi d'amore ogni cuore infiammò. / Deh, non tardate, anime belle! / Sta sul fieno, chi trono ha di stelle."
In banner at bottom: "From the corona di sacre canzone. I have translated only two verses of this little hymn, though it is very beautiful in the original, because / the sentiment is so very like that of the first Christmas hymn in the book: 'Mira cuor mio durissimo': these two I have put in for the sake of the pret- / -ty tune."
Not every record you will find here is complete. More information is available for some works than for others, and some entries have been updated more recently. Records are frequently reviewed and revised, and we welcome
any additional information you might have.