The Adoration of the Magi

Artist: Netherlandish (Antwerp Mannerist) Painter (ca. 1520)

Medium: Oil on wood

Dimensions: 27 1/8 x 21 1/2 in. (68.9 x 54.6 cm)

Classification: Paintings

Credit Line: Bequest of Helen L. Bullard, in memory of Harold C. Bullard, 1921

Accession Number: 21.132.2


The Adoration of the Magi was a favorite theme in Antwerp Mannerist painting, which emerged in the first quarter of the sixteenth century and is characterized by its extravagant and theatrical style. Showing a preference for flamboyant gestures, exotic costumes, and eccentric color effects, works such as the present picture were frequently mass-produced for sale on Antwerp’s open art market and for export to southern Europe. The setting, with the crumbling architecture and drawn curtain, here recalls the theatre, as does the stage-like arrangement of the elaborately dressed figures around the Virgin and Child.