Adoration of the Magi


Andrea Mantegna: Adoration of the Magi

Dawson W. Carr


106 pages

PDF file size: 8.47 MB


Andrea Mantegna’s Adoration of the Magi is based on one of Christianity’s best loved stories: the arrival of the gift-bearing Wise Men at the baby Jesus’ birthplace in Bethlehem. While the simple Bible text is usually depicted with sweeping, exotic pageantry, here the subject is rendered with an intimate, close-up focus on the central characters in the scene. In his fascinating study, author Dawson W. Carr examines Mantegna’s innovative treatment of the theme in light of the main concerns of his art and the culture of his time. His generously illustrated and detailed analysis provides a clear understanding of this compelling masterpiece, which is one of the most popular and important paintings in the J. Paul Getty Museum.

Andrea Mantegna: The Adoration of the Magi is part of the Getty Museum Studies on Art series, designed to introduce individual artworks or small groups of related works to a broad public with an interest in the history of art.

Each monograph is written by a leading scholar and features a close discussion of its subject as well as a detailed analysis of the broader historical and cultural context in which the work was created.

Table of Contents

  • Introduction
  • Mantegna’s Work and World
  • Mantegna and Devotional Painting
  • The Magi: Texts and Images
  • The Compositional Innovation
  • Reading The Adoration of the Magi
  • Notes
  • Acknowledgments

About the Authors

Dawson W. Carr is Associate Curator of Paintings at the J. Paul Getty Museum and one of the authors of Masterpieces of the J. Paul Getty Museum: Paintings (1997) and Looking at Paintings: A Guide to Technical Terms (1992).