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The Adoration of the Magi
Manuscript leaf from a psalter, a Book of Hours or a breviary




The Adoration of the Magi
Manuscript leaf from a psalter, a Book of Hours or a breviary


Between 1225 and 1270


Tempera, gold leaf and ink on vellum


13.6 x 8.1 cm


F. Cleveland Morgan Bequest, inv. 1962.1355


Graphic Arts

In this composition with a chequered background, the oldest Wise Man has taken off his crown and is respectfully kneeling to offer a gift to Jesus, identifiable by the blue halo. The sad and pensive Virgin already suggests the mater dolorosa. The younger of the two crowned Magi, wearing a hooded cape, is looking attentively at the elder, who is pointing to the Star of Bethlehem. In a design typical of Gothic illumination, some elements, such as the feet of the kneeling Wise Man, the folds of the Virgin’s mantle and the leaf surmounting the trefoil arch, overlap the frame.

The absence of text makes it difficult to determine what type of work this leaf came from, since the Adoration of the Magi can be found in many 13th-century psalters, Books of Hours and breviaries.

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