Francesca Bassano's 'The Greeting from the Shepherds'
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A picture depicting the nocturnal scene of the shepherds greeting the Christ Child which reveals features typical of the Bassano workshop, and was discovered in 1966 during the inventorying of historical monuments in the church at Kaski, near Blonie, has been linked by the authoresses in successive publications with the person of Francesco himself. This picture, having been donated to the church in 1946, was not acquired by the Archdiocesan Museum in Warsaw until as late as 2002. Thorough conservation work, involving chemical tests and technological research, confirmed the work's authenticity. Traces of alterations made by the author (pentimento) were uncovered on its original layer of paint, as well as previous and solicitously carried out conservation. Such traces, as well as the picture's small size (93 x 72cm), gave rise to the presumption that it may have served as an iconographic model for the five-person, family bottega of the Bassanos. The liking for nocturnal scenes betrayed both by Jacopo and Francesco, the most accomplished as well as oldest of the former's sons, was already well pronounced by around 1575 in scenes depicting Adorations and Annunciation to the Shepherds.The similarity of the Madonna's face as depicted in Jacopo's picture of 1576 (Municipal Museum in Bassano), the sketches of both Jacopo and Francesco, as well as the picture from Kaski is proof that in each case the same model was used. This fact permits an approximate dating of the latter painting's creation to the years 1576-8. 9 Illustrations.
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