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The Adoration of the Kings, and Christ on the Cross
Probably by Benedetto Bonfigli
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The beginning and end of Christ’s life on earth are juxtaposed in this small panel painting. On the left, the Virgin Mary sits with the infant Christ on her lap in front of the stable where he was born. Saint Joseph, her husband, sits on the ground in the left-hand corner. In the middle, three figures present gifts to Christ. This is the Adoration of the Kings, when three kings from the East followed a star to Bethlehem to find the King of the Jews. On the right, in a barren landscape, the adult Christ is shown on the Cross, eyes closed and head slumped in death.

This painting could have been a part of a predella (a row of small pictures running along the base of an altarpiece) although it’s unusual to show the Adoration and the Crucifixion in a single painting. It may have been made as a complete small picture for private devotion.

Key facts
Artist Probably by Benedetto Bonfigli
Artist dates active 1445; died 1496
Full title The Adoration of the Kings, and Christ on the Cross
Date made about 1465-75
Medium and support Tempera on wood
Dimensions 37.5 x 49.5 cm
Acquisition credit Bought, 1901
Inventory number NG1843
Location in Gallery Gallery A: Paintings 1250-1600
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