Netherlandish (Antwerp Mannerist) Painter, ca. 1520
Oil on wood; 27 1/8 x 21 1/2 in. (68.9 x 54.6 cm)
Bequest of Helen L. Bullard, in memory of Harold C. Bullard, 1921 (21.132.2)
The Adoration of the Magi was the most popular subject in the repertoire of the Antwerp Mannerists, whose workshops mass produced images such as this painting for the local market and for export, often in identical or only slightly varied format. This Adoration of the Magi is known in at least two other versions, including a likely prototype in the Philadelphia Museum of Art that is attributed to an anonymous master active in Antwerp during the first quarter of the sixteenth century. Like these other versions, this work is characterized by a grand, classical architectural setting, exotic costumes, flamboyant gestures, and a high-keyed, somewhat dissonant color scheme. The opulent gifts presented by the Magi, the three kings who come from the East, are reminiscent of the objects imported into and produced in Antwerp, the center of trade and commerce in the sixteenth-century Netherlands.