The Adoration of the Magi
Bassano, near Venice, the end of the 1560s
Oil on canvas
94.3 x 130 cm
The three kings, or Magi, approach the infant Christ with their gifts.
Despite their worldly wealth, they bow to Christ who is acclaimed as the King of Kings. The setting in a ruined classical building symbolises the fate of paganism and of the old gods. They will be ruined as a result of Christ’s divine mission.
Bassano uses the theme to show off his skill in painting sumptuous robes and a splendid retinue of animals and servants. The dazzling effect is enhanced by the painting’s exceptional condition.
Purchased 1978 (No.78.1)