ID number: BIRBI-78.1
Institution: The Barber Institute of Fine Arts
Artist / Maker: Bassano, Jacopo (1510-1592)
Title / Object name: The Adoration of the Magi
Object type: Painting
Place made: Venice
Date made: late 1560s
Materials: Oil on canvas
Measurements: 94.3 x 130 cm
Provenance: Sir William Abdy Bt; his sale, Christie's Auction House, London, 5 May 1911 (lot 85); F.A. Konig, Tyringham; Agnew's Auction House, 1939; Major Peter Harris, 15 May 1939; purchased from Harris estate by Agnew's, 6 November 1978; purchased by the Barber Institute, November 1978
The three kings, or Magi, approach the infant Christ with their gifts. Despite their worldly wealth, they bow to Christ who is acclaimed as the King of Kings. The setting in a ruined classical building symbolises the fate of paganism and of the old gods. They will be ruined as a result of Christ’s divine mission.
Bassano uses the theme to show off his skill in painting sumptuous robes and a splendid retinue of animals and servants. The dazzling effect is enhanced by the painting’s exceptional condition.
Notes: Exhibited: 'Summer Exhibition of Fine Pictures by Old Masters', Thomas Agnew's Galleries, London, UK, 1939 (no. 45); 'Loan Exhibition of Thirty-Nine Masterpieces of Venetian Painting', Thomas Agnew's Galleries, London, UK, 1953 (no.1); 'Master Painters, Recent Acquisitions', Thomas Agnew's Galleries, London, UK, 1977 (no. 23); 'Art Treasures of England', Royal Academy, London, UK, 22 January 1998 - 13 April 1998 (no. 288); 'Nativity Trail', Birmingham Museum and Art Gallery, Birmingham, UK, 26 November 2008 - 31 January 2009; 'Jacopo Bassano - 500 years at Musee Civico di Bassano del Grappa', Museo Civico di Bassano di Grappa, Venice, Italy, 6 March 2010 - 13 June 2010; 'La Fabbrica del Rinascimento', Basilica Palladiana, Vicenza, 11 Dec 2021 - 18 April 2022 (Cat. p.218, no. 48)