Object Image

The Adoration of the Shepherds

The Adoration of the Shepherds is a late altarpiece by Guido Reni. Nearly five metres high without its frame, it is one of the largest paintings in the National Gallery's collection.

In a stable in Bethlehem, a group of shepherds gather around the newborn Christ. Reni has staged a night-time scene, using the darkness to full effect by surrounding the Christ Child with an otherworldly glow that illuminates the faces of those around him; they gaze upon his manger with awe and devotion. Celestial light seems to spill from the heavens through a gap in the clouds, and a group of joyful putti carry a scroll that reads: GLORIA IN ECCELSIS DEO ('Glory to God in the highest').

This work was completed ...

c. 1640
Oil on canvas
480.0 x 321.0cm
Image and text © The National Gallery, London, 2024

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