The Adoration of the Magi
Giovanni di Paolo (Giovanni di Paolo di Grazia) (Italian, Sienese, 1398–1482)
Tempera and gold on wood; 10 5/8 x 9 1/8 in. (27 x 23.2 cm)
The Jack and Belle Linsky Collection, 1982 (1982.60.4)
This minute panel presents the Adoration of the Magi as a harmonious gathering of different figure types.
The eldest king is the first to honor the Christ Child. He holds the child's foot to kiss it, while the child touches his head in blessing. Kneeling to the right is the middle-aged king, poised to cast off his crown while he rests his gift on his knee. The young king stands with his arm around Joseph's shoulder, clasping one of his hands and leaving the other one free to hold a cane. On the far right, a groom gazes out from his place between the horses, and on the left, the graceful figure of the Virgin supports the Christ Child.
The painting comes from a predella devoted to the childhood of Christ. It also included a Nativity, now in the Fogg Art Museum in Cambridge, and a scene of Christ among the doctors disputing in the temple, now in the Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum in Boston.