Description The wise men who, according to the Gospels, came from the East to adore the Christ Child and acknowledge his divinity, were often depicted as kings, underscoring the importance of their homage. The star that they followed is in the upper left corner. The oldest king, a regal European, kneels before the Child and his mother. The middle-aged Turkish potentate, wearing a turban, looks back through the doorway in the ruin where the holy family has taken refuge toward the youngest ruler, a vigorous young African, attired in elegant 16th-century German fashion. His facial features are more individualized than those of the other two, and it may be that he is based on a study made from life. In the distance, some of the kings' followers ride horses with very long necks, surely the artist's attempt at camels! The painter has created a kind of stage set for his drama, using a perspective system made popular by his famous fellow countryman Albrecht Dürer. The receding lines marked out in the masonry go back, more or less, to one point, the hand of the man in the doorway (at center).
Provenance Sara D. Redmond, Oyster Bay, New York, by purchase; Walters Art Museum, 1985, by bequest.
Credit Bequest of Sara D. Redmond, 1985
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