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23 December 2021

'The mysterious Giorgione (1477-1510) left very few works at his premature death, but this one is a masterpiece of contemplation. The elderly Joseph is deep in prayer, Mary holds a pose of silent worship before the Christ child, whose hazy face appears so inward-looking. The shepherds, in their ragged clothes, are speechless and spellbound, but full of love for the baby. They are the first to arrive, the first to understand what they are seeing, before the rest of the crowd arrives. The scene is very close and intimate, against the distant Venetian landscape. Not a sheep in sight. By their humility shall you know the shepherds' (here), This is at the National Gallery of Art in Washington. And it's a rather appropriate painting with which to end a year of Persephone Posts: because of the intimacy, the landscape in the background, the image of maternity, the story being told, all of which are defining qualities of our books (we hope). The Post is now on holiday until Tuesday January 4th. The office/shop is open as normal today and until 2 tomorrow (Christmas Eve) and then is open on the 29th, 30th and 31st, Covid willing. Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year to all our readers, thank you SO much for all your support, which is warmly appreciated, and see you (virtually) in the New Year.

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