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Girolamo da Treviso, The Adoration of the Kings

Key facts
Full title The Adoration of the Kings
Artist Girolamo da Treviso
Artist dates about 1497/8 - 1544
Date made about 1523-4
Medium and support Oil on wood
Dimensions 144.2 × 125.7 cm
Acquisition credit Presented by Edmund Higginson, 1849
Inventory number NG218
Location Not on display
Collection Main Collection
Previous owners
The Adoration of the Kings
Girolamo da Treviso

A great throng of retainers and animals accompany the Three Kings to pay homage to the infant Christ (Matthew 2: 2–12). Reclining among angels in the heavens, God the Father blesses all those below. The Virgin Mary holds the Christ Child, who blesses the eldest king prostrated before him and receives the gold he offers. The next king has taken off his crown and kneels in respect. The third, dark-skinned king takes from an attendant the large golden urn of myrrh he will present to Christ.

Fragments of a ruined classical building – perhaps a city gate or triumphal arch – are scattered in the foreground. Ruined classical architecture is often included in Renaissance paintings of the Nativity to symbolise the end of the old pagan world and the dawn of the new Christian era.

This painting by Girolamo da Treviso is based on a drawing Baldassare Peruzzi made in 1522, which in turn was derived from a tapestry design by Raphael’s workshop.

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