Adoration of the Kings

The Christ Child sits on his mother's lap within the ruins of a castle, before a townscape. The Virgin rests on a stone manger, while Joseph descends a stairway at the left. The Magi proceed to pay homage and a crowd of onlookers peer in at the right. Caspar kneels before the Virgin (the ox and the ass can be seen above his head); a little further back Melchior prepares to make his offering; and Balthazar enters the ruin from the right. In the town beyond people stand in the street and look up at the spectacle. New Testament (John 2: 1-2, 11)

This painting and the 'Lamentation' are similar in terms of style and dimensions, and are thought to be from the same altarpiece. Both panels appear to date from about 1515, and show similarities with the palette of Quinten Massys's paintings.

Key facts

Artist dates
active 1484; died 1523
Full title
Adoration of the Kings
Date made
about 1515
Medium and support
Oil on oak
60 x 59.2 cm
Inscription summary
Acquisition credit
Bequeathed by Mrs Joseph H. Green, 1880
Inventory number
Location in Gallery

Other paintings in the group: Two Panels from an Altarpiece

Gerard David
Gerard David: 'Lamentation'