Giovanni Bellini

Attributed to Giovanni Bellini (?) (active by c. 1459–1516)
The Nativity
c. 1480
Pen and brush and brown ink
Samuel Courtauld Trust: Princes Gate Bequest, 1978

Here we are given a close view of the Holy Family, separated by a wicker fence from the sweeping landscape beyond. The drawing's technique is wide ranging, from the precise hatching employed for Joseph and Mary to the free, more loosely drawn shepherds. The artist has worked confidently, moving from left to right. He did, however, make changes as he went. For instance, the ox's tail was drawn over the dog.