Glossary

Adoration of the Kings

The Bible says that after the birth of Christ, wise men (magi) from the East came to worship him. They told King Herod of the child, thus unwittingly causing the Massacre of the Innocents (Matthew 2).

The wise men are frequently portrayed as kings. Painters therefore had considerable scope for depicting detailed finery. One of them (Balthazar) is often shown as black. They brought symbolic gifts: gold for a king; frankincense for a priest; and myrrh for suffering and death.

Painting
Jacopo di Cione and workshop
1370-1
Attributed to Jacopo di Cione and workshop: 'The Adoration of the Kings'
Painting
Sandro Botticelli and Filippino Lippi
about 1470
Sandro Botticelli: 'Adoration of the Kings'
Painting
Jan Gossaert (Jean Gossart)
1510-15
Jan Gossaert: 'The Adoration of the Kings'
Painting
Gerard David
about 1515
Gerard David: 'Adoration of the Kings'
Painting
Girolamo da Treviso
about 1524-5
Girolamo da Treviso: 'The Adoration of the Kings'
Painting
Dosso Dossi
probably 1530-42
Dosso Dossi: 'The Adoration of the Kings'
Painting
Paolo Veronese
1573
Paolo Veronese: 'The Adoration of the Kings'