The Adoration of the Magi,

Italian, Neapolitan Follower of Giotto

Dressed in sumptuous gold embroidered robes, three Magi and two angels, shown in profile at the right, adore the Virgin and Child, who are seated in the doorway of a palace. They are accompanied by three diminutive attendants in the lower left corner. Adding to the elaborate surface pattern is the punched gold border that integrates the painted scene with the original engaged frame. Hinge marks on both the left and right sides of the frame indicate that the painting was originally part of a folding altarpiece comprised of multiple panels. The ensemble included scenes of the Annunciation and the Nativity (Musée Granet, Aix-en-Provence) and at least one other lost panel, which may have depicted the Presentation in the Temple or the Flight into Egypt. The backs of the two works in Aix-en-Provence at one time bore the coats of arms of the Anjou and Aragon dynasties, while an unidentified coat of arms that once existed on the reverse of the Lehman panel has since been lost. The altarpiece may have been donated by Robert of Anjou (King of Naples, r. 1309-43) and Queen Sancha to the convent of the Poor Clares in Aix-en-Provence. Previously attributed to an anonymous Sienese artist working in Avignon, the altarpiece has more recently been ascribed to a Neapolitan artist influenced by Giotto, a pivotal figure in Western art, whose activity in Naples from 1328 to 1332 had a significant impact on local artists.

On view at The Met Fifth Avenue in Gallery 952

Public Domain

The Adoration of the Magi

Artist: Italian, Neapolitan Follower of Giotto (active second third of the 14th century)

Date: ca. 1340–43

Culture: Italian, Naples

Medium: Tempera on wood, gold ground

Dimensions: Overall, with engaged frame, 26 1/8 x 18 3/8 in. (66.4 x 46.7 cm); painted surface, including tooled border, 21 3/8 x 15 in. (54.3 x 38.1 cm)

Classification: Paintings

Credit Line: Robert Lehman Collection, 1975

Accession Number: 1975.1.9

The three panels belonged until 1819 to Fauris de Saint Vincens, Aix-en-Provence. After his death two, and possibly all three, panels were acquired for the Musée de la Ville d'Aix. Only two are catalogued there in 1851, and the present panel appeared in 1853 at the sale of the estate of M. Clérian, director of the École de Dessin at Aix (sale, Simonet, Paris, March 14-16, 1853, no. 28, as Giotto). It passed to the collection of the painter Jean-Léon Gérôme (d. 1904) in Paris. Purchased by Philip Lehman from Gimpel and Wildenstein, Paris, in February 1916.
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