The Adoration of the Magi

Quinten Massys Netherlandish

On view at The Met Fifth Avenue in Gallery 636

This intentionally claustrophobic composition is characteristic of the Antwerp Mannerist style of the first half of the sixteenth century. Finely wrought goldsmith’s work abounds. The caricatured features of the Magi and their retinue reveal the artist’s interest in the exaggerated physiognomic types popularized by Leonardo da Vinci and made available through prints. The highly individualized treatment of the African king reflects the presence of both free and enslaved Black people in Antwerp as a result of trade relations with Portugal.

The Adoration of the Magi, Quinten Massys (Netherlandish, Leuven 1466–1530 Antwerp), Oil on wood

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