The Birth of Jesus, Gerard van Honthorst, 1622
Looking at the brilliant chiaroscuro side bathing these faces in a warm golden light, I note how Honthorst focuses on the reactions of the figures surrounding Christ and not the manger surrounding them. Clever triangles, contrast of warm and cool colors, and a black sky behind them are all that is necessary to make a great painting. Honthorst creates presence with light, a physical space around Christ, and flawless figures.
Merry Christmas to everyone who reads this blog and Happy New Year! I invite any comments or questions. I will be back in the new year with a very busy January of great artist bios and their work.