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The Adoration of the Magi
El Bosco
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El Bosco

S'Hertogenbosch (Holanda), 1450 - S'Hertogenbosch (Holanda), 1516

The Adoration of the Magi

Ca. 1494. Grisaille, Oil on oak panel

The central panel depicts The Adoration of the Magi. The city of Bethlehem, with some fantastic buildings, is visible in the background. In the foreground, the Kings offer their gifts. One, on the floor, has a carving of the Sacrifice of Isaac, a foreshadowing of the Passion of Christ. Casper´s clothing bears a view of Salomon´s visit to the Queen of Sheba, an antecedent to the Magi´s own visit to the Christ Child. With these images, the artist establishes two different levels on which to read the painting, linking Old and New Testament passages. It is more difficult to identify the nearly naked, chained figure looking out the door. He has been successively considered Adam, the Anti-Christ or Herod, yet none of these attributions is convincing. The side panels portray the donors with their patron saints. Although the same landscape appears across the three panels, it is optically separated by the frames. On the left, the male donor kneels under the protection of Saint Peter with Saint Joseph in the background, heating the Christ Child´s diapers at some distance from the Magi. On the right, the female donor is accompanied by Saint Inez. When closed, this triptych represents Saint Gregory´s Mass, painted in grisaille with two praying figures. The altar depicts Calvary with scenes from the Passion. The center shows Christ appearing to the Pope, who is saying Mass. This work is from Bosch´s last period. It is well preserved and is one of his finest pieces. It was originally in a chapel of `s-Hertogenbosch Cathedral and was later acquired by Felipe II, who sent it to El Escorial in 1574. From there, it entered the Prado Museum in 1839.

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Technical data

Inventory number
P02048
Author
El Bosco
Title
The Adoration of the Magi
Date
Ca. 1494
Technique
Grisaille; Oil
Support
Oak panel
Dimension
Height including frame: 147.4 cm.; Width including frame: 168.6 cm.
Provenance
Royal Collection (Royal Monastery of San Lorenzo de El Escorial, Madrid, 1839)

Bibliography +

Ponz, Antonio (1725-1792), Viage de España. Vol. I, Madrid Joachin Ibarra, 1773, pp. 153.

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Brans, J.V.L., Hieronymus Bosch (El Bosco) en el Prado y en el Escorial, Barcelona Omega, 1948, pp. 20,32/ láms.28-37.

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Silver, Larry, God in details: Bosch and judgment(s) : College Art Association of Americ, 2001, pp. 638.

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Marijnissen, Roger H., Jérôme Bosch. Tout l' oeuvre peint et dessiné Mercatorfonds, 2007, pp. 234.

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Fischer, Stefan, Hieronymus Bosch : Malereials Vision, Lehrbild und Kunstwerk, Colonia Böhlau, 2009, pp. fig. 4.

Silver, Larry, Pieter Bruegel Abbeville Press Publishers, 2011, pp. 242.

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García-Frías Checa, Carmen, 'De la grandeza y variedad de la pintura que hay en esta casa' La colección pictórica de Felipe II en El Monasterio de El Escorialo, Madrid Patrimonio Nacional, 2013, pp. 35-51 [40].

Krischel, Roland, Bilder die klappen zurkinetik religiöser gemälde im spätmittelalterlichen köln. E.A. Seeman,, 2014, pp. 51-130 [110-111 f.20].

Withee, Diana K., 'Some additions to Bosch's circle of noble patrons' En: Jheronimus Bosch Art Center, 2014, pp. 334-363 [350].

Koreny, Fritz, 'Bosch and his pupil? Observations on Jheronimus Bosch's Prado Epiphany' En: Jheronimus Bosch Art Center, 2014, pp. 162-170.

De Bruyn, Eric, 'Jheronimus Bosch: his patrons and his public. What we know and would like to know' En: Jheronimus Bosch Art Center, 2014, pp. 14-17 [19].

Greub-Fracz, Krystyna., Die Grisaillen des Genter Altars. Altniederländische Skulpturenimitation im Kontext des Lettners Michael Imhof Verlag, 2014, pp. 50 L.87.

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Other inventories +

Catálogo Museo del Prado, 1854-1858. Núm. 444.

Inv. Real Museo, 1857. Núm. 444.
Bosch (Geronimo) / 444. La Adoracion de los magos. / Oratorio con sus dos puertas correspondientes, en las cuales se ven retratados, arrodillados y con sus santos patronos al lado, á los personages que encargaron la obra. (E.) (tabla) / Alto 4 pies, 9 pulg; ancho 2 pies, 6 pulg, 6 lin.

Catálogo Museo del Prado, 1872-1907. Núm. 1175.

Exhibitions +

El Bosco
Madrid
31.05.2016 - 11.09.2016

Los trípticos cerrados del Museo del Prado. De grisalla a color
05.11.2012 - 26.05.2013

Update date: 12-02-2016 | Registry created on 28-04-2015

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