Illustrations of the New Testament with engravings attributed to Jean Moni, a native of Lyon who flourished around the year 1570.
The woodcuts in this book are after engravings by Bernard Salomon, whose New Testament engravings were said to be inspired by the Mannerist art of the Fontainebleau School. Salomon (b c. 1508; d c. 1561) was a leading draughtsman and engraver from Lyon, whose engravings were frequently reused by other Lyon artists He was known as “the Little Bernard,” a reference to the small size of his woodcuts.
In this scene Mary and Joseph lean over the baby Jesus in the manger. Each has lifted arms, expressive of joy. The juxtaposition of the ass between them accentuates the triangular composition of the illustration. The ox appears, kneeling at Joseph’s side. Both animals are common in depictions of the Nativity. It is said that their presence represents that even the most humble of creatures showed veneration when Jesus was born. In the sky, a group of angels watches over the family.
Artwork in the public domain