Hidden treasures

The Nativity Scene in the Icon Museum in Venice

Unknown places & works

The Nativity Scene in the Icon Museum in Venice

The representations of the Nativity Scene in Western art are a classic theme tied to the wholly Italian tradition of the Nativity period.

Instead, in the Orthodox world there are totally unrelated items from our imagination. We could, however, visit the Museum of Icons of the Institute of Post-Byzantine Studies in Venice. Here several masterpieces are preserved, many of which were painted in Venice by Greek painters who fled here after the Turkish occupation after 1453.

Here one can admire a Nativity Scene of the second half of 1400s, which is far away from our art for both style and for the details in the picture. The Madonna in the centre, is in a kind of cocoon, sitting next to the child, warmed by the ox and the donkey. On the left, two shepherds are speaking with an angel, while further down, out of the main scene, Joseph is speaking with two travellers. The picture which is absolutely unrelated to our imagination is on the bottom left: two maids are taking care of the baby whilst preparing a bath for him.

This scene of the bath is taken from the apocryphal gospels, as well as the presence of the ox and the donkey, which instead, had more luck in our tradition!

If you are interested in this art so far yet so close to Venice you may visit the Icon Museum, which is open every day from 9am to 5pm.

By Insidecom Editorial Staff

Latest posts

Venice: Veronica Franco: the most talked-about woman in the Serenissima

Big Names

Among the various Venetian female figures of the past, certainly one of the most interesting and, for many reasons also modern, was Ver...


Venice: 10 songs that will make you think of Venice

Did you know that...

Sometimes we hear the first few lines of a song and our minds are suddenly transported back to a place, a memory or a dream. We put tog...


Padua: Vò Euganeo: a place to be discovered

Unknown places & works

In the last few months there has been much talking around the small town of Vò, in the province of Padua. It was at the center of ever...


Venice: 10 must-see movies filmed in Venice

Film Locations

Venice is unique amongst world cities and every year it turns into a dream-like experience for scores of tourists thanks to its timeles...


Top posts

Chioggia: The Valley of the Seven Dead Men

Mysteries & Legends

Halloween is just around the corner: have you already got into the fascinating terrifying aura of the scariest party of the year? No ye...


Venice: The stone heart of St Mark’s Basilica

Unknown places & works

If you are visiting St Mark’s Basilica and have just abandoned the wonderful vision of the Pala d'Oro (which is a must-see), just a f...


Venice: Map of Venice, what to know before you leave

Did you know that...

Did you know that Venice is not a single large island but rather a collection of 117 small islands linked together by over 400 bridges?...


Venice: The origins of the Spritz cocktail

Local Traditions

Spritz, the typical Venetian aperitif, has nowadays become the iconic cocktail of Happy hour not only in Italy, but all over the world....