Adoration of the Shepherds - Jacob Jordaens. 1618
Around 1618, the young Jacob Jordaens (1593–1678) writes The Adoration of the Shepherds. A black shawl sets off the milky whiteness of her skin and the brightness of her blush. The child is sleeping, and the shepherds, who according to the gospel legend have come to bow to him, are reverently silent, but the colors are so bright, the shapes are so emphasized in volume (for example, the remarkably painted round copper jug in the foreground), people are so full of health and strength, every figure and every object so insistently declare themselves that the viewer, standing in front of the picture, least of all thinks about peace and quiet.
The picture is striking in the powerful glorification of physical strength and health. This is the key to the beauty of man for Jordaens. Transmitting the physical, material existence of people and things, Jordaens does not try to grasp the abstract, spiritual meaning of the gospel story. It is limited to the image of a purely earthly event. It is no coincidence that several paintings on the theme “Adoration of the Shepherds” appear in the works of Jordaens when a child was born to the artist’s young wife. His wife and little daughter serve him as models, and home experiences help to really imagine the events of the Christian legend.