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MFA for Educators

Engage your students with the collections of the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston, to illustrate themes and concepts in any discipline.

The Nativity

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Tintoretto became famous during his lifetime for covering large surfaces with rapid brushstrokes. Here, he displayed this talent for bold brushwork in the drapery folds as well as in the two sketchy background scenes that depict the journey of the Magi to see the infant Jesus and the...

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Until about 1860s or 1870s, in a church in a town north of Florence; about 1860s or 1870s (possibly in 1874), sold by the church to Quincy Adams Shaw (b. 1825 - d. 1908), Boston [see note 1]; by descent to his son, Quincy Adams Shaw, Jr., Boston; 1946, gift of Quincy Adams Shaw, Jr., to the MFA. (Accession Date: December 12, 1946) NOTES [1] A letter from Quincy Adams Shaw, Jr., to W. G. Constable of the MFA (December 24, 1946; in the MFA curatorial file) states that Shaw's father had purchased the painting in Italy, perhaps in 1874, and that it had hung over the altar of a church in a small town north of Florence, the name of which he could not recall. The painting was certainly in the Shaw collection by 1881, when it was mentioned in "Greta's Boston Letters," Art Amateur 5, no. 4 (September, 1881), p. 73. Edward Strahan, The Art Treasures of America, vol. 3 (Philadelphia, 1882), p. 87, wrote that it was "obtained at Venice."

Credit Line

Gift of Quincy A. Shaw

late 1550s, reworked 1570s


155.6 x 358.1 cm (61 1/4 x 141 in.)

Accession Number


Medium or Technique

Oil on canvas