The Adoration of the Shepherds

1620s
Theodoor van Loon (Flemish, about 1581/2–1667)


Dimensions

250 x 167 cm (98 1/2 x 65 3/4 in.) - unframed

Accession Number

2000.1035

Medium or Technique

Oil on canvas

On View

William I. Koch Gallery (Gallery 250)

Collections

Europe

Classifications

Paintings

Van Loon’s large canvas depicts the New Testament episode in which shepherds discover the Christ Child in the manger—a subject that allowed the artist to emphasize the revelation of Christ’s divinity. Van Loon spent most of his career in Brussels and executed commissions for local churches seeking striking paintings with recognizable subjects that would reinvigorate the faith of Catholics after the Protestant Reformation. His dramatic use of shadow and light demonstrates the strong influence of Caravaggio, whose work he encountered during his sojourn in Rome. Van Loon vied for commissions from the Archduchess Isabella with Peter Paul Rubens, who worked in a markedly different, more exuberant style.

Provenance

François Heim, Paris. About 1988, Eric Turquin, Paris; sold by Eric Turquin to Claude Ott, Paris; sold by Claude Ott to a private collector, France; December 7, 2000, sold by this private collector at Sotheby's, London, lot C30, to Johnny van Haeften for the MFA. (Accession Date: January 24, 2001)

Credit Line

Charles H. Bayley Picture and Painting Fund