Of special note are the angel next to the Virgin and the shepherd at the center embracing a column who appear to show the facial abnormalities of Down’s Syndrome, and may be an early representation of this phenomenon (Levitas and Reid 2003 and Cornwell 2009). The chorus of six angels with a banderole is an addition to the standard composition which adds a joyful element to the scene. "Die niederländischen, französischen und deutschen Gemälde." Die Sammlung Richard von Kaufmann, Berlin.
It is a 16 century Flemish painting depicting the birth of Jesus.
Among the figures in the painting are an angel and a shepherd who appear to have Down syndrome.
Sure angels and shepherds were on hand for Christ’s birth – but check it out – there were even shepherds and angels with DOWN SYNDROME on hand for His birth! Could it be that in 1515, being a shepherd with Down syndrome was no big deal?
Or could it be that people (and angels) with Down syndrome were not only accepted, but revered back then – to the point where you couldn’t accurately depict the manger scene without including them?
This artist may be the same Jan Joest found in records of the painters’ guild of Haarlem. 110, ill., catalogues it as "Jan Joest van Calcar (?
The Virgin’s delicate features and the frizzy-haired angels in the Museum's panel are similar to the Virgin and Gabriel in the Kalkar altarpiece, but the faces of Joseph, the shepherds and some of the angels differ enough to indicate that it was more likely painted by a close follower of Joest (Ainsworth 1998). The details which correlate with Bridget’s account are the young Virgin with flowing hair, the naked Christ Child, and the singing angels. The most important element of Bridget’s vision is the "great and ineffable light" which emanates from the Child to illuminate his surroundings, entirely eclipsing the light of the candle held by Joseph. So here we are, Christmas morning, and – “IT’S A CHRISTMAS MIRACLE!” I actually feel somewhat calm and organized and able to sit down and reflect on an amazing year.The first time I saw the painting online I was blown away.