Inventory number
P01166
Author
Velázquez, Diego Rodríguez de Silva y
Title
Adoration of the Magi
Chronology
1619
Technique
Oil
Support
Canvas
Dimensions
203 cm x 125 cm
School
Spanish
Theme
Religion
On display
Yes
Provenance
Colección Real (Noviciado de jesuitas de San Luis, Sevilla, capilla de los novicios, 1746; Reales Alcázares, Sevilla, Academia de Nobles Artes, post. 1767; Madrid, 1807).

The characters of the holy story appear over at nightfall. They look like portraits of the painter's family, and Velázquez can be identified as Casper, the elderly Melchior as his father-in-law, Francisco Pacheco, and the Virgin as his wife, while the Christ Child looks like the painter's new-born daughter, Francisca. Velázquez had been a painting teacher for two years and had been married to Juana Pacheco for one when he made this work from his period in Seville. His interest in chiaroscuro, the tactile quality and the detailed depiction of objects and textures give this religious scene a close and immediate character in keeping with the principles of the Counterreformation.

This work may have been made for the Jesuit novitiate of San Luis in Seville. The thorn bush at the upper left may be a reference to a relic owned by the holy King of France. The painting is dated on the stone under the Virgin's feet.

 
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