Paolo de Matteis’s esteemed work The Adoration of the Shepherds is a large painting, depicting a classic Christian Nativity scene, that is displayed in the Dallas Museum of Art. In the piece, a dozen or so individuals surround the newborn Christ and his parents, gazing at him in admiration and paying him homage while animals look serenely on and angels assemble around the heads of the Holy Family. The artist employs several classic artistic elements in his painting, such as line, light, color, and shape, to draw the viewer’s focus directly to his intended point of emphasis, the infant Jesus.
One of the most effective principles Paolo de Matteis uses in this painting is his use of lines and invisible lines to direct the viewer’s attention to the child in his mother’s arms. The shepherds and their animals, the Virgin Mary, and Saint Joseph are all instances of invisible lines in this painting, as their outstretched hands and lines of vision are all pointing to the baby Jesus. For example, the three women and the child kneeling to the bottom right side of the manger are all staring or pointing to the upper left, toward Jesus. Moving to the upper right corner of the painting, the ox and the donkey are directing their gaze to the bottom left, once again at Jesus. The two men to the right of the animals also point in that direction. In the top and center, Mary and Joseph watch their child, creating yet another invisible line pointing toward the point of emphasis, while the angels