The Adoration of the Magi

Object Details

Title:

The Adoration of the Magi

Artist/Maker(s):

Unknown

Culture:

German

Date:

about 1240

Medium:

Tempera colors and gold leaf on parchment

Dimensions:

Leaf: 17.8 x 13.5 cm (7 x 5 5/16 in.)

See more

See less

The miniature of the Adoration of the Magi is a cutting from a sequence illustrating the story of Jesus' life in a thirteenth-century psalter. The artist illustrated the visit of the three wise men from the East to pay homage to the newborn Jesus, as told in the Gospel of Saint Matthew. The king at the center of the miniature points to the unseen star that guided their journey. Below, an elderly king presents a chalice to the baby Jesus. The chalice and the round object the Virgin Mary holds may allude to the wine and wafer of the Eucharist. In that sacrament, Jesus' blood and body are understood to be present in the wine and bread that are consecrated and shared. Rather than representing the Virgin and Child in the modest surroundings described in the Gospels, the artist emphasized the majesty of these holy figures. The Virgin is regally enthroned, crowned, and richly attired, while Jesus already has the features of a grown man and extends his right hand in blessing.

The stylized draperies with their intricate folds and the strong lines defining the figures' faces suggest some Byzantine influence.

Related Works
Exhibitions
Gothic Manuscript Illumination: 1250-1375 (January 16 to March 13, 1985)
  • The J. Paul Getty Museum, (Malibu), January 16 to March 31, 1985
German Illuminated Manuscripts (October 23, 1985 to January 5, 1986)
  • The J. Paul Getty Museum, (Malibu), October 23, 1985 to January 5, 1986
Illuminated Gothic Manuscripts (January 20 to April 5, 1987)
  • The J. Paul Getty Museum, (Malibu), January 20 to April 5, 1987
Recent Acquisitions of Illuminated Manuscripts, 1984-1989 (July 17 to September 30, 1989)
  • The J. Paul Getty Museum, (Malibu), July 17 to September 30, 1989
Illuminated German and Central European Manuscripts (October 17 to December 31, 1989)
  • The J. Paul Getty Museum, (Malibu), October 17 to December 31, 1989
The Psalms and Their Illustration (April 27 to July 3, 1993)
  • The J. Paul Getty Museum, (Malibu), April 27 to July 3, 1993
Manuscript Illumination of the 13th Century (January 21 to April 6, 1997)
  • The J. Paul Getty Museum, (Malibu), January 21 to April 6, 1997
Masterpieces of Medieval and Renaissance Manuscript illumination (December 16, 1997 to March 22, 1998)
  • The J. Paul Getty Museum at the Getty Center, (Los Angeles), December 16, 1997 to March 22, 1998
Ten Centuries of Manuscript Illumination in Germany and Central Europe (July 21 to October 18, 1998)
  • The J. Paul Getty Museum at the Getty Center, (Los Angeles), July 21 to October 18, 1998
The Psalms and Their Illustration (February 1 to April 23, 2000)
  • The J. Paul Getty Museum at the Getty Center, (Los Angeles), February 1 to April 23, 2000
The Art of Giving in the Middle Ages (November 21, 2000 to February 4, 2001)
  • The J. Paul Getty Museum at the Getty Center, (Los Angeles), November 21, 2000 to February 4, 2001
Five Hundred Years of Manuscript Illumination (February 11 to June 1, 2003)
  • The J. Paul Getty Museum at the Getty Center, (Los Angeles), February 11 to June 1, 2003
The Glory of the Gothic Page (December 16, 2003 to March 7, 2004)
  • The J. Paul Getty Museum at the Getty Center, (Los Angeles), December 16, 2003 to March 7, 2004
The Gospels in Medieval Manuscript Illumination (October 31, 2006 to January 7, 2007)
  • The J. Paul Getty Museum at the Getty Center, (Los Angeles), October 31, 2006 to January 7, 2007