The Adoration of the Magi with Saint Anthony Abbot

Object Details


The Adoration of the Magi with Saint Anthony Abbot


Franco-Flemish Master (French or Flemish, active Burgundy, France about 1400)


French or German


or France Germany (Place created)


about 1390 - 1410


Oil and tempera with gold and silver leaf on panel


Panel: 104.8 x 188.6 x 4.4 cm (41 1/4 x 74 1/4 x 1 3/4 in.)

See more

See less

Against a bright red background dotted with shimmering stars, the Three Kings pay homage to Christ. The artist depicted Christ as a lively child sitting on his mother's lap, with Joseph sitting behind them. The child dips his hands into the gold coins offered to him, symbolizing his acceptance of his kingship.

The figure on the far left is Saint Anthony Abbot, the founder of monasticism. The saint holds a bell to ward off the devil and is accompanied by a pig, symbolizing his healing of infirmity. Pig's lard was one of the remedies for "Saint Anthony's fire," a skin disease named after the saint, which was epidemic at the time. A church or hospital devoted to Anthony as its patron saint probably commissioned the painting.

In a gesture of reverence, the oldest Magi, Caspar, kneels before Christ with his crown beside him. The next youngest king, Balthasar, stands behind him. A black page beside the young Melchior refers to the Magi's distant journey from faraway lands.

The painting's patterned background and the Magi's courtly, fur-lined robes are characteristic of the International Gothic style that dominated Europe around 1400. The style was characterized by courtly opulence, a degree of naturalism, and an elegant, graphical quality.

before 1888

Private Collection, Besancon, from whom acquired by Jacques-Hyacinthe-Georges-Richard, comte de Soultrait

- 1888

Jacques-Hyacinthe-Georges-Richard, comte de Soultrait, 1822 - 1888 (Château Toury-Lurcy, Nivernais, France)

by about 1960/1970

Rocquigny Family (Château de Balaine, France), sold to a private collector, about 1960/1970.

about 1960/1970 -

Private Collection (Neuilly, France), placed on consignment with Claude Aguttes (Neuilly-sur-Seine, France).

- 2002

on consignment to Claude Aguttes (Neuilly-sur-Seine, France) [sold, Claude Aguttes, Neuilly-sur-Seine, December 14, 2002, lot 27, to Agnew's.]

2002 - 2004

Thomas Agnew & Sons, Ltd. (London, England), sold to the J. Paul Getty Museum, 2004.

Fit for a King: Courtly Manuscripts, 1380-1450 (June 29 to August 29, 2004)
  • The J. Paul Getty Museum at the Getty Center, (Los Angeles), June 29 to September 5, 2004
The Road to Van Eyck (October 13, 2012 to February 10, 2013)
  • Stichting tot Beheer Museum Boijmans Van Beuningen, (Rotterdam), October 13, 2012 to February 10, 2013
Related Media
  • /
    Audio: Adoration of the Magi with St. Anthony Abbot (Family; Animals)
  • /
    Audio: Adoration of the Magi with St. Anthony Abbot (1)