Skip to main content

Gerard David, Adoration of the Kings

Key facts
Full title Adoration of the Kings
Artist Gerard David
Artist dates active 1484; died 1523
Series Two Panels from an Altarpiece
Date made about 1515
Medium and support Oil on oak
Dimensions 60 × 59.2 cm
Inscription summary Inscribed
Acquisition credit Bequeathed by Mrs Joseph H. Green, 1880
Inventory number NG1079
Location Room 26
Collection Main Collection
Previous owners
Adoration of the Kings
Gerard David

The Three Kings – Caspar, Melchior and Balthasar – present gifts to the Christ Child in the ruins of a grand building. The Virgin Mary sits on the edge of the manger while Saint Joseph, her husband, comes down a staircase just visible to the left. A crowd of curious onlookers, some wearing turbans, peer through the arch on the right. In the field behind Caspar’s head we can see an ox and a donkey, while everyday life goes on in the street of the town behind.

This painting was perhaps once part of a polyptych (a multi-panelled altarpiece) showing the life of Christ painted by Gerard David in Antwerp after 1515. It is likely that a similarly sized panel, the Lamentation, comes from the same complex.

Download image
Download low-resolution image

Download a low-resolution copy of this image for personal use.

License this image

License and download a high-resolution image for reproductions up to A3 size from the National Gallery Picture Library.

License image
Download low-resolution image

This image is licensed for non-commercial use under a Creative Commons agreement.

Examples of non-commercial use are:

  • Research, private study, or for internal circulation within an educational organisation (such as a school, college or university)
  • Non-profit publications, personal websites, blogs, and social media

The image file is 800 pixels on the longest side.

As a charity, we depend upon the generosity of individuals to ensure the collection continues to engage and inspire. Help keep us free by making a donation today.

Download low-resolution image

You must agree to the Creative Commons terms and conditions to download this image.

Creative Commons Logo

Two Panels from an Altarpiece


These two paintings – the Adoration of the Magi and the Lamentation – most likely come from a polyptych (an altarpiece made up of several panels) painted by Gerard David and his assistants in the workshop he set up in Antwerp in 1515. They are roughly the same size and the figures are painted on the same scale, and have been together since at least the nineteenth century. They may have come from a lost altarpiece showing scenes from the life of Christ.