Collection Online


oil on wood panel
56.7 × 41.0 cm
inscribed in black paint l.r.: XEIP BIKTO
Accession Number
International Painting
Credit Line
National Gallery of Victoria, Melbourne
Felton Bequest, 1949
This digital record has been made available on NGV Collection Online through the generous support of Digitisation Champion Ms Carol Grigor through Metal Manufactures Limited
Gallery location
14th - 16th Century Gallery - Painting & Decorative Arts
Level 1, NGV International
The depiction of the Nativity in the Orthodox icon tradition is significantly different to western depictions of the same subject. This example, by Victor of Crete (one of the most significant artists working in the Venetian-held Crete during the seventeenth century), adheres to the eastern or ‘Greek’ tradition. Multiple episodes are compressed in a single moment: the arrival of the Three Wise Men; Christ’s sleep in a bier in a cave; and his later washing by two nurses. The narrative elements in this icon are informed by the momentous rulings of the Council of Ephesus (431) which declared Mary to be the Mother of God, who nevertheless gave birth naturally, lying down.