Initial E: Adoration of the Magi
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Franco dei Russi
Italian, Veneto, 1470s
Tempera colors on parchment
5 7/8 x 6 3/16 in.

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The three kings come to pay homage to the infant Christ in this wildly colorful scene. The blues, greens and violets of the ground and in the figures harmonize with the three colors of the decorative initial. The eldest king has removed his crown in recognition of Christ's superior rank and is about to kiss his feet in reverence. The Christ Child, who has accepted his gift, offers the king his blessing. The figure of the youngest king (the farthest to the right) stands out from the color scheme in his red tunic and cap, and his stocking labeled "DOM." This may represent a contemporary figure dressed in courtly costume of the period, perhaps the patron. This initial from a choir book probably introduced the text of the Introit for the feast of the Epiphany: "E[ cce advenit dominator Dominus... ]" (Behold the lord the ruler is come...).