Unusually, the kings are poised to pay homage rather than doing so, and Joseph - or it may be Saint John the Baptist - prominently points to Christ.

The peaks at the extreme right were originally intended as towers. In front a tiny angel appears on a cloud, presumably to announce the Nativity to the shepherds.

A grid and diagonals converging on the vanishing point are incised. Bramantino worked in Milan and this painting probably dates from the 1490s.

Key facts

Artist
Artist dates
active 1490; died 1530
Full title
The Adoration of the Kings
Date made
about 1500
Medium and support
Oil on poplar
Dimensions
56.8 x 55 cm
Acquisition credit
Layard Bequest, 1916
Inventory number
NG3073
Location in Gallery