The Adoration of the Magi
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Jean Bourdichon
French/Tours/about 1480 - 1485
Tempera colors and gold on parchment
6 7/16 x 4 9/16 in.
MS. 6, FOL. 59

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The artist took an opportunity here to paint the Adoration of the Magi as a nocturnal scene, although this was not a typical treatment of the subject. The star shown at the top of the miniature is the one that guided the three kings to the manger. It is not only an important part of the story, but also becomes the element that reveals the major actors in the drama, for it casts its light on the Virgin and Child, all three kings, and the crown and gift of the eldest king. The king's humility is revealed in his act of kneeling and in the fact that he has taken off his crown. Christ reaches out to accept the gift, and the other two magi wait behind, conversing with each other in front of their armed retinue.