Flemish Painting Features Angel with Down's Syndrome

The Adoration of the Christ Child

This oil on wood painting shows a classic nativity scene, and the little angels kneeling at the front on the left clearly has Down's syndrome. Some think the shepherd at the back on the left also has an additional chromosome.

At the time when the work was created it was common for the faces of those who had commissioned the art to feature within it. Perhaps we are looking at the face of the much-loved daughter of a wealthy and proud 16th Century Flemish family here. 

The 1515 Flemish painting, by an unknown artist, depicts an angel (next to Mary) and possibly the shepherd in the centre of the background, with Down's syndrome.

It's wonderful, and it shows that Trisomy 21 has been around for a very long time. The Flemish artist is unknown, but was a follower of Jan Joest of Kalker. The painting resides at the New York Metropolitan Museum of Art


  1. Thanks for sharing this Hayley...

  2. Truly lovely picture. Thanks for sharing.

    All the best to you and yours for 2013.

    1. Same to you. I think it will be a good year to come x

  3. What a cool painting !! Brilliant thanks for sharing !


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