This picture - at once austere and tender - belongs to a series of seven showing the life of Christ. The masterly depiction of the stable, which is viewed from slightly below, and the columnar solidity of the figures are typical of Giotto, the founder of European painting. The impetuous action of the kneeling king, who picks up the Christ Child, and Mary’s expression of concern translate the Biblical account into deeply human terms. As the sculptor Ghiberti declared (ca. 1450): "[Giotto] made [art] natural and gave it gentleness".