barber institute of fine arts
university of birmingham

Jacopo da Ponte, called Bassano (about 1510 – 1592)

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)

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