The Adoration of the Magi

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Bohemian School
14th century
Bohemia, ca. 1355-1360
Tempera and gold on linen-covered panel.
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.

Companion of the "Death of the Virgin" panel, AZ022.2.
Crafted at the court of Holy Roman Emperor Charles iv (r. 1346-78) at Prague, these exquisite panels (AZ022.1-2) 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.
Gilded layer of wood panel punched and incised.

Dr. Friedrich Lippmann, Berlin (d. 1903); Dowdeswell & Dowdeswell, London; purchased by J.P. Morgan, Jr. in 1931.

The three Wise Kings offering their gifts to the Virgin and Child. St. Joseph is kneeling in front of the Virgin. In the upper right corner is the Annunciation to the Shepherds.