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Sensing the Unseen

Step into Gossaert's 'Adoration'

Until 13 June 2021

Location: Room 1

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Take your first step into Jan Gossaert’s world of intricate detail, technical mastery and rich meaning in a new Gallery experience where you’ll be surrounded by the sights and sounds of his 500-year-old masterpiece.  

In 'The Adoration of the Kings’, Gossaert has compressed time and space into a richly detailed, imagined setting where some elements of this familiar Christian scene are immediately clear and others are hidden for us to discover: the weave of fabric, Gossaert’s fingerprint in the green glaze where he blotted it with his hand, thistles and dead nettles, hairs sprouting from a wart on a cheek, a tiny pearl, a hidden angel... 

To help you uncover the unseen, Balthasar - the Black king, pictured here with a gift of myrrh at Christ’s side - will share his journey through a world on the brink of change to be present at this moment of transformation.

Through soundscapes, spoken word, hi-resolution digital imagery and gesture-based interaction you will go on your own personal journey to discover not only the visual riches of the painting but also why it tells more than a Christmas story. 

This is an opportunity to not only stand in front of the painting but immerse yourself in its world and the artistry that built it. 


We want as many people as possible to be able to enjoy 'Sensing the Unseen'. 

If you are travelling to the Gallery specifically for this exhibition or you have access needs, contact the Visitor Information Line on 020 7747 2885 [choose option 2] to book one of the limited pre-bookable slots. These will be released at the beginning of each month for the month ahead. If there is availability, the visitor engagement team will book a timed slot and your Gallery Entry ticket together. Note, slots cannot be booked on the day of your visit.

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'Sensing the Unseen: At home

Can’t make it to the Gallery? ‘Sensing the Unseen: Step into Gossaert's 'Adoration, mobile edition let's you enjoy the 'sonified' painting experience in the comfort of your own home.

Launch the experience

Image above: Detail from Jan Gossaert, 'The Adoration of the Kings', 1510-15

Ticket prices

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Exhibition supported by

The Capricorn Foundation in memory of Mr H J Hyams

Find out more

An experimental, interactive experience designed for mobiles
Immerse yourself in the world of Gossaert’s masterpiece ‘The Adoration of the Kings’ and its awe-inspiring intricate detail
Gossaert's 'The Adoration of the Kings'
Susan Foister looks at Gossaert's vibrant masterpiece
Find out how and why we brought the king's words to life
A voice of today deepens our understanding
Read on if you're curious, skip ahead if you'd rather it be a surprise
Ideas, prototypes, user testing, find out more about how we worked