3 hours in the Museum
- Inventory number
- Rubens, Peter Paul
- Adoration of the Magi
- 1609; 1628 - 1629
- 355,5 cm x 493 cm
- On display
- Colección Real (Real Alcázar, Madrid, Pieça en que su magd. come en el quarto bajo, 1636, s.n.; Real Alcázar, Pieza inmediata de la Aurora, 1666, nº 133; Real Alcázar, Pieza inmediata de la Aurora, 1686, s.n.; Palacio , cuarto bajo-pieza inmediata de la Aurora, 1700, nº 258; Real Alcázar, Pinturas que se hallaron en las Bóvedas de Palacio, 1734, nº 630; Palacio Real Nuevo, Madrid, antesala de la Furriera, 1747, nº 3; Palacio Nuevo, Madrid, antecámara de la princesa, 1772, nº 3 [dupl.]; Real Palacio Nuevo, Madrid, pieza de vestir [2ª], 1794, nº 3; Palacio Real, dormitorio del príncipe, 1814-1818, nº 3; Museo Real de Pinturas a la muerte de Fernando VII, Madrid, Salon 2º Escuela Flamenca, 1834, nº 333)
At the left of the composition, under a classical column, Mary helps the Christ Child play with one of the presents offered by one of the Magi. The rest of the figures making up the Kings' cortege are spread across the work from there to the right.
In 1609, this painting was commissioned by the City Government of Antwerp to commemorate the Twelve-Year Truce between Spain and the rebel Dutch provinces. Soon thereafter, the city donated it to Ambassador Rodrigo Calderón, who sent it to Spain.
At that time, the work was smaller than it is now. It shows Rubens' first style, which was very influenced by his then-recent trip to Italy, with vigorous figures, an intense use of light and crowded compositions.
The work entered the Royal Collection when Calderón died in 1621. When Rubens visited Spain in 1628-2629, he expanded it to it current dimensions. He added two Titian-like angels to an upper strip, and his self-portrait on horseback, showing his authorship of this work, on a strip to the right.