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The Meeting of the Three Kings with David and Isaiah
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This image is available for download, without charge, under the Getty's Open Content Program.

Master of the Saint Bartholomew Altarpiece
Netherlandish, before 1480
Oil and gold leaf on panel
24 3/4 x 28 1/16 in.
96.PB.16

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In a barren, mountainous landscape, the three wise kings Caspar, Melchior, and Balthasar meet to continue their journey to Bethlehem. Heralds on prancing horses blare trumpets to proclaim the unification of humankind at the birth of Jesus. On the peaked mountains above, the kings appear again at an earlier moment. Their diminutive figures stand or kneel, watching for the star that will lead them to their king. In the right and left corners of the foreground, Isaiah and David hold scrolling banners inscribed with the Old Testament prophecies of the Adoration of the Magi. The Assumption of the Virgin appears on the other side of this panel. Borne aloft by musical angels, the Virgin Mary slowly ascends to be crowned Queen of Heaven by God the Father above. Circles of pastel colors--yellow, pink, and blue--radiate from her, ending with clouds painted in each corner of the composition.

An altarpiece wing functions like a door to a cabinet. Artists often painted both sides of a wing so that a picture would be visible whether the "door" was opened or closed. Because this panel is painted on two sides, it may have once formed part of such a wing.


Other Views

Verso: Assumption of Virgin
Verso: Assumption of Virgin