The Three Magi, from an Adoration Group

Workshop of Hans Thoman German

On view at The Met Fifth Avenue in Gallery 305

The Metropolitan Museum of Art has possessed this sculpture of the Three Magi offering their gifts of gold, frankincense, and myrrh in its collection since 1951. The recent acquisition of the Virgin and Child has provided the Museum with the exceptional opportunity to reunite these sculptures, originally part of the large altarpiece dismantled in the early nineteenth century. Altarpieces depicting the Adoration of the Magi were widespread in Germany during the late Middle Ages, particularly following the city of Cologne’s acquisition of the Magi’s relics in 1164.

It has been proposed that the first two Magi, Melchior and Balthazar, might depict the Hapsburg emperor Maximilian I and his son, Philip.

The Three Magi, from an Adoration Group, Workshop of Hans Thoman (German, active Memmingen, ca. 1514–25), Wood, gesso, paint, gilding, South German

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Adoration of the Magi group (2013.1093 and 51.28a, b)