Name of Object:

Adoration of the Shepherds


Governor’s Palace, Brno, Moravia, Czech Republic

Holding Museum:

Moravian Gallery, Brno

Date of Object:


Artist(s) / Craftsperson(s):

Martin Johann Schmidt (Kremser-Schmidt)  (1718, Grafenwörth-1801, Stein an der Donau)

Museum Inventory Number:

O 149

Material(s) / Technique(s):

Oil on canvas


H: 80 cm; w: 110 cm


Municipal Museum, Olomouc

Type of object:


Place of production:

Stein an der Donau, Austria


The New Testament account of the shepherds' adoration of the infant Jesus is rendered as a genre picture. The landscape setting is not typical of Kremser-Schmidt's oeuvre which predominantly comprised sizeable altarpieces. The artist reduced the scene to primary figures and their attributes and based the picture on atmospheric use of colour and light. A contrasting motif of a forked tree receding into a dark cloud separates the main scene from the background. The light appears to emanate from within the picture itself, from the infant Jesus, and is reflected on the hay in the barn and tools in the foreground. These motifs are reminiscent of 17th-century Dutch painting, something that Kremser-Schmidt focused upon unlike his contemporaries. His interest in chiaroscuro and the relaxed brushstrokes pay tribute to Rembrandt's painting style. The colour scheme is, however, original. The scale of brown tones illuminated with various hues of golden ochre are offset by Mary's blue robe and accents of vermilion in the detail. The palette is complemented by a grey-blue background with light effects.
The picture is one of only a few known examples of the artist's early work, that often appears to be inspired by northern Italian painting, and which he probably saw either during a journey to Venice in 1746 or through prints brought back from there for him. He later settled in Stein near Krems, and sent his paintings to Lower Austria, Hungary, Poland and Slovenia. In the last quarter of the 18th century his paintings were distributed in Moravia (Vranov, Bratrušov). His student, Franz Oesterreicher, worked in Jihlava. Schmidt's oeuvre spanned changes in style from the late baroque to classicism and this was accompanied by an extension of thematic scale: portrait, genre painting and ancient mythology.

View Short Description

The shepherds’ adoration of the infant Jesus is rendered as a genre picture. The landscape setting is not typical of Kremser-Schmidt, whose work largely comprised altarpieces for the Habsburgian lands. The painter reduced the scene to primary figures and based the picture on the atmospheric use of colour and light.

Current Owner:

Art Museum, Olomouc

How date and origin were established:

The picture was determined as a work by Kremser-Schmidt on the basis of a style analysis by Ivo Krsek.

How Object was obtained:

The picture comes from the former Municipal Museum in Olomouc. Its original provenance is unknown.

Selected bibliography:

Ivo Krsek, Ivo Krsek, Beitrag zum Werk Martin Johann Schmidts (Kremser-Schmidt), Sborník prací filozofické fakulty brněnské univerzity, F 10, 1966, pp. 51–52.
Rupert Feuchtmüller, Der Kremser-Schmidt, Innsbruck–­­Wien, 1989, pp. 54, 377, WV 137.
Michael Grünwald, Kam mit der Weinfuhr von Krems auch ein 20 Schuch langes und 10 Schuch hohes Bild an...Der Maler Martin Johann Schmidt (1718–1801) und seine Kunsttransporte, in Friedrich Polleroß (ed), Reiselust & Kunstgenuss. Barockes Böhmen, Mähren und Österreich, Petersberg, 2004, p. 179.

Citation of this web page:

Zora Wörgötter " Adoration of the Shepherds" in "Discover Baroque Art", Museum With No Frontiers, 2019.;BAR;cz;Mus11_B;43;en

Prepared by: Zora Wörgötter
Copyedited by: Jiří Kroupa
Translation by: Irma Charvátová
Translation copyedited by: Mandi Gomez

MWNF Working Number: CZ 44