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The Three Kings journeyed to Bethlehem to honour the new-born Jesus. They brought gifts of gold, frankincense and myrrh. New Testament (Matthew 2:2-12).

The painting would seem to be made from the cartoon of the 'Adoration of the Kings' by Baldassare Peruzzi, which was recently transferred from the National Gallery to the British Museum.

In 1550 Vasari stated that Girolamo da Treviso made such a painting for the cartoon's owner, Count Giovan Battista Bentivoglio, but this picture is not necessarily the one to which he referred. The cartoon is datable to 1522-3, and Girolamo da Treviso's copy of the composition probably dates from the later 1520s.

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