The Adoration of the Magi
The Adoration of the Magi; The Dormition of the Virgin
Tempera and gold on linen-covered panels
Each panel: 11 3/4 x 7 1/4 inches (300 x 185 mm.) Framed: 13 3/4 x 9 7/8 inches (350 x 250 mm.)
Purchased by J. P. Morgan, Jr., 1931
Crafted at the court of Holy Roman Emperor Charles IV (r. 1347–1378) at Prague, these exquisite panels likely formed a diptych—commissioned perhaps by the emperor himself. In the scene of the three kings adoring the Christ Child, the second magus has the features of Charles and his red cloak bears the imperial eagle. In the panel depicting the Virgin's death, St. Peter wears the three-tiered papal tiara. These details allude to the delicate balance between sacred and terrestrial power.