Anatomy of an Artwork: The Nativity

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Featured in Sotheby's upcoming Excellence sale on 13 November, this beautiful depiction of the Nativity is one of about fifty known surviving works attributed to a pioneer of painted enamel, commonly referred to as the Pseudo Monvaerni or the Monvaerni Master. Active between about 1461 and 1485, he was a key figure in the history of enamelling in Limoges during the transition between the late Medieval and early Renaissance periods. The enamel of the Nativity stands out for its quality and rarity, with only one other identical plaque known, from the collection of Prince Adam Czartoryski, which is currently in the Museum of Warsaw. It displays knowledge of perspective and a great talent for arranging colours highlighted with gilding. Click the image above to view the slideshow.

Anatomy of an Artwork: The Nativity

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