The Adoration of the Magi
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Workshop of the Boucicaut Master
French, France, about 1415 - 1420
Tempera colors and gold on parchment
8 1/16 x 5 13/16 in.
MS. 22, FOL. 72

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Three sumptuously robed kings arrive from the East to present gifts to the newborn "King of the Jews." The anonymous illuminator of this miniature showed the three kings in successive stages of approach to the Christ child. The oldest, closest to the child, has already removed his crown and kneels before Jesus and Mary. The next is in the process of removing his crown and is starting to kneel. The last--the youngest--still stands and wears his crown. By showing the kings in this way, the illuminator created an image that fully presented the Adoration, from the arrival of the kings to the bestowing of the gifts. This treatment creates the impression of a formal ceremony of presentation entirely in keeping with the taste for courtly ceremony in the art of the 1400s.