“The Birth of Christ,” Juan Pantoch de la Cruz, – overview of the painting

“The Birth of Christ,” Juan Pantoch de la Cruz, – overview of the painting
“The Birth of Christ,” Juan Pantoch de la Cruz, - overview of the painting - 1

    • Posted by Juan Pantoha de la Cruz
    • Museum: Prado Museum
    • Year: 1603

Overview of the painting :

The birth of Christ is Juan Pantoha de la Cruz. 1603. Oil on canvas. 260 x 172 cm.

This picture was created according to one of the most popular biblical stories – the birth of Jesus Christ. The canvas is distinguished by a composition visually dividing the plane of the canvas into three transverse elements. The lower part, on which the main characters of the event are captured, personifies the earth; the middle dark strip separates the sky from earthly life; the uppermost part depicts the kingdom of heaven with prayerfully kneeling angels.

The dark background emphasizes the reference to the Bible, according to which the Virgin Mary gave birth to Christ in a cave that served as bread for livestock. A white lamb peacefully sleeping at her feet recalls this. This is a kind of game of symbols – the lamb not only emphasizes the place of birth of Jesus, but also personifies himself – “the lamb of God.”.

In the center of the lower part of the composition, the Virgin herself is depicted, laying her hands on her chest and looking with love at the baby lying on her lap. She is wearing a red dress and dark scarf thrown on her hair.

This lyrical and delicate scene of maternal love is surrounded by numerous characters with musical instruments in their hands. They are dressed in fashion close to a modern artist. Careful detail and a magnificent image of the smallest elements give out the characteristic handwriting of the artist. These people stand in a semicircle, forming a kind of honor guard near the baby Jesus and his mother.

The darkness of the cave arch gradually passes into a layer of clouds above it. Five angels with large wings in long, free clothes of different colors stand on their knees. They are also located in a semicircle, being a kind of reflection of what is happening under them on earth.

The canvas is harmoniously selected with bright but not screaming, slightly muted flowers and rich color scheme.