The Annunciation to the Shepherds, the Massacre of the Innocents, the Flight into Egypt, the Adoration of the Magi, the Madonna and Child –– these incidents from the story of Christ’s birth have all been commonplace subjects for art from the 4th century through the Renaissance, and they’ve been treated by some of the greatest artists in Western history. You can see some of that at the Arlington Museum of Art’s Scenes of the Nativity.
The show focuses on images from the so-called Northern Renaissance, with Rembrandt, Dürer, and Rubens figuring heavily, though Italians like Annibale Carracci are here as well. The etchings and engravings on display are small and won’t overwhelm you with their scale, but you can still admire the miniaturist skill required by the artists to use their tools to create elusive effects of light and shade. Additionally, the museum is running a weekly lecture series starting next week on individual scenes from the Nativity story and their place in art history. Whether you’re seeking the true meaning of Christmas amid the noise of a commercialized holiday season or just want to look at some great art, the AMA is the place to be.
[box_info]Scenes of the Nativity runs thru Dec 28 at 201 W Main St, Arlington. Admission is $5. Call 817-275-4600.[/box_info]