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The Adoration of the Magi

Artist/Maker: Master of the Blessed Clare of Rimini (Italy, active ca. 1340-1345)

Date: ca. 1340
Medium: tempera on wood
Sight: 22 3/4 x 23 3/8 in. (57.8 x 59.4 cm)
Framed: 32 x 31 1/2 x 5 1/2 in. (81.3 x 80 x 14 cm)
Classification: Art Works
Credit Line: Gift of The Samuel H. Kress Foundation
Object number: 61.018.000
DescriptionAmong the events of Christ’s infancy, the Adoration of the Magi was important from the standpoint of Catholic dogma because it was the moment when Christ’s divinity was revealed for the first time to the Gentiles, as represented by the three kings. Originally, this painting was the left-hand wing of a three-panel altarpiece in the Riminese church of San Francesco. The name given the anonymous master responsible for this charming painting is derived from the subject matter of the altarpiece’s other wing, which depicted the vision of the blessed penitent, Clare of Rimini (1262-1328). Like his Riminese contemporaries, the Master of the Blessed Clare maintained certain Byzantine traditions, such as the red couch on which the Virgin reclines, the gold striations of her gown and the robes of Saint Joseph, and the use of a hierarchical scale. At the same time, the emphasis on human interaction, clarity of space, and figural solidity show the influence of the great Florentine master Giotto di Bondone (1266-1337).
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