Object Image

The Adoration of the Kings

The Three Kings have come to visit the infant Christ in the stable where he was born. They bring gifts of gold, frankincense and myrrh, and have journeyed from the East (Matthew 2: 10-12). The stable at Bethlehem is attached to the ruins of a great classical building with a triumphal arch in the background. Angels appear in the sky, along the ray of light that falls on Christ. The dominant diagonal, created by this beam of heavenly light, is countered by the diagonal formed by the adoring figures, with the Virgin Mary and Christ Child placed where they intersect.

The picture is dated 1573 and was painted for the church of S. Silvestro in Venice. It was not an altarpiece but a large painting fo...

Oil on canvas
355.6 x 320.0cm
Image and text © The National Gallery, London, 2024

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