Bridgit's [1303-1373] writings
had a profound and lasting impact on 15th century Renaissance painting
in the depiction of the Nativity. Gentile da Fabriano's Adoration
of the Magi, 1423 (Uffizi, Florence) Giovanni di Paolo's Nativity,
1470s (Vatican Museums, Rome), and Hugo van der Goes's Portinari
Altarpiece, 1475 (Uffizi, Florence), among many others, all follow
Bridget's account of the Nativity. She described seeing Mary give
birth as if light passed through her body. Joseph has brought
Mary a candle since the birth was at night. With the birth,
however, the Infant was bathed in a divine light that overwhelmed the
material light of the candle. Bridget wrote:
Her [Mary's] back was turned against the manger. Verily though all of a sudden, I saw the glorious Infant lying on the ground naked and shining . . . Then I heard also the singing of the angels, which was of miraculous sweetness and great beauty . . . When therefore the Virgin felt that she had already born her Child, she immediately worshipped him, her head bent down and her hands clasped, with great honor and reverence and said to him: Be welcome my God, my Lord, and my Son."
Henk van Os, Sienese Altarpieces 1215-1460, vol. 2, Form, Content, Function 1444-1460, Groningen, 1990: 119-21, figs. 118, 128a"