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22 July 2020
Nativity 1470 is in the National Gallery in London. Along with the use of brown under-painting for the figures, this shows a familiarity with Netherlandish and Flemish work. It also experiments with perspective: it is the only one of his works that shows a building askew from the rest of the composition: this is the simple shed, which reminds the viewer of Christ's humble beginnings. It is possible that this panel was never completed. It has certainly been damaged, possibly by the work of a 19th-century restorer. Nevertheless, the painting holds more than enough detail to give a sense of a complete composition, one which is likely to have been among the last Piero della Francesca created.
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