The Getty Museum's magnificent painting by Mantegna, The Adoration of the Magi, is based on one of Christianity's most beloved stories: the arrival of the gift-bearing Wise Men at the newborn Jesus' crib in a manger in Bethlehem. The
picture is much more than a Christmas-card image, however. Author Dawson Carr explores Andrea Mantegna's life and milieu in fifteenth-century Padua, the influence on the artist's career of the revolutionary theoretical ideas of his time, comparable works by Mantegna as well as other artists, and the significance of the subject matter in Christian theology. Carr then provides a fascinating closer look at the painting itself, considering Mantegna's innovative treatment of the subject, the relationship of the narrative to the viewer, and problems associated with the conservation of its beautiful, but fragile, distemper medium.
Dawson Carr is an associate curator of paintings at the Getty Museum and one of the authors of Looking at Paintings and Masterpieces of the J. Paul Getty Museum: Paintings.
Series: Getty Museum Studies on Art