Fragrant Christmas!

Oranges are native to China. In the late Middle Ages they were new to Europe. Andrea Mantegna was clearly aware of orange trees and their beautiful golden fruit when he created this fragrant image of the Holy Night, the Adoration of the Shepherds:


The scene is set in an open space, with Mary in the middle, adoring the child while kneeling on a stone step, while to her right Joseph is sleeping, and to her left two shepherds pray.

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Morris, E. T., & Metropolitan Museum of Art (New York, N. (1999). Scents of time: perfume from ancient Egypt to the 21st century. Munich ; London ; New York: Prestel, p. 66.