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Adoration of the Magi

Giovanni Paolo Panini

European Art

On View:
Pendants presented an ideal narrative device for representations of the Adoration of the Shepherds and the Adoration of the Magi. Painters delighted in juxtaposing the humble shepherds, modestly clad in simple woolens, with the worldly kings, wearing silken fineries and bearing extravagant gifts. Despite these disparities, the pilgrims are united in their reverence before the newborn Christ.

Panini invokes a long-standing tradition by placing the manger among classical ruins, signifying the end of paganism and the birth of a new religion. A specialist in fantasy landscapes dotted with vestiges of antiquity, Panini concentrates on architectural details—the decrepitude of the monument and the simple sturdiness of the manger—while his figures’ gestures of dignified veneration lead the eye to the Madonna and Child.
MEDIUM Oil on canvas
  • Place Made: Italy
  • DATES ca. 1755
    DIMENSIONS 39 × 29 in. (99.1 × 73.7 cm) frame: 47 × 36 × 2 in. (119.4 × 91.4 × 5.1 cm)  (show scale)
    COLLECTIONS European Art
    CREDIT LINE Gift of Mrs. Thomas F. Walsh
    MUSEUM LOCATION This item is not on view
    CAPTION Giovanni Paolo Panini (Italian, 1691–1765). Adoration of the Magi, ca. 1755. Oil on canvas, 39 × 29 in. (99.1 × 73.7 cm). Brooklyn Museum, Gift of Mrs. Thomas F. Walsh, 55.19 (Photo: Brooklyn Museum, 55.19_SL1.jpg)
    IMAGE overall, 55.19_SL1.jpg. Brooklyn Museum photograph
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