Glossary

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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.

Adoration of the Kings
Sandro Botticelli and Filippino Lippi
about 1470
The Adoration of the Kings
Jan Gossaert
1510-15
The Adoration of the Kings
Girolamo da Treviso
about 1524-5
The Adoration of the Kings
Dosso Dossi
probably 1530-42
The Adoration of the Kings
Paolo Veronese
1573
 
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