The Adoration of the Magi

Attributed to the Master of 1518 (Flemish) 

The Adoration of the Magi, early 16th century

Oil on wood panel

Purchase, Acquisition Fund, funds given in memory of Mrs. Richard A. Cooke, Alyce Hoogs, Wilhelmina Tenney, and Douglas Damon, the bequest of Alyce Hoogs, and contributions by the Charles M. and Anna C. Cooke Trust, Mrs. Robert P. Griffing, Jr., Robert Allerton, and John Gregg Allerton, 1963 (3103.1)

According the Gospel of Saint Matthew, three kings bearing gifts of gold, frankincense, and myrrh followed a star to the manger where Christ had recently been born. In this depiction of the biblical narrative, the Master of 1518 uses the figures of the Magi to represent three parts of the world: Africa, Asia, and Europe. The artist has paid great attention to the luxury objects in the painting, from the gold vessels that contain the Mmagis’ gifts to their richly embellished costumes. To achieve this lushly detailed effect, the artist worked from a carefully planned under- drawing and applied a series of thin oil paint glazes atop a layer of underpainting.