Monday, January 6, 2020

“The Adoration of the Magi” by Gentile da Fabriano

From Aleteia:
The subject is that of the famous Three Kings. Bearing gifts they traversed through distant lands in order to honour and adore the newly born Christ Child. Their adventure begins in the background. Very inventively the artist characterizes their journey as a continuous narrative through the gilded Gothic arches.

The first scene decorating the first arch depicts the discovery of the bright star in the East. The brightness of the star illuminated their hearts as they set out for Jerusalem. This is illustrated in the second scene. However, there they encounter the villain. Herod, the paranoid and treacherous king, asked them to report back once they find the Messiah. From there the Magi lead their retinue to the small town of Bethlehem as displayed at the upper right corner.

The extraordinary star shepherded them to the stable. The stupefied scene they encountered is witnessed by the viewer in the foreground of the painting. As the haloed and resplendent Christ Child greets the kings, they take turns offering gifts of gold, frankincense and myrrh. Portrayed as emissaries, each Magus is accompanied by an entourage of pages and courtiers on horses. So great is the crowd that the figures appear stacked one on top of the other as if poised on a slope. (Read more.)

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