Friday, January 6, 2017

Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace, good will toward men.

Melozzo da Forli (Italian Renaissance artist, 1438-1494) Angel from the Vault of the Sacristy of Saint Mark  January 29, 2011. "Without Melozzo, the work of Raphael and Michelangelo would have never existed.” This statement by Antonio Paolucci, director of the Vatican Museums, sums up the impact this renaissance painter had on some of the greatest Italian painters.

Epiphany - Procession of Magi by Benozzo Gozzoli (Italian early Renaissance painter, c 1421–1497)

Benozzo Gozzoli (Italian early Renaissance painter, c 1421–1497) Scenes from the Procession of the Magi Young, Detail of the Young King on wall of Chapel, Palazzo Medici-Riccardi, Florence 1459-62

In Christianity, Epiphany refers to the moment that a person believes that Jesus is the son of God.  To symbolize this, Western Christian churches generally celebrate Epiphany as the arrival of the 3 kings at the birthplace of Jesus (The Adoration of the Magi) 12 days after Christmas. Traditionally, Eastern Christian churches celebrated Epiphany (or Theophany) in conjunction with Christ's baptism by John the Baptist on January 19th.  Some Protestant churches celebrate Epiphany as an entire religious season, extending from Christmas Day until Ash Wednesday.

Benozzo Gozzoli (Italian early Renaissance painter,  c 1421–1497) Scenes from the Procession of the Magi,  Detail of the Middle King on South wall of Chapel, Palazzo Medici-Riccardi, Florence 1459-62


Benozzo Gozzoli (Italian early Renaissance painter,  c 1421–1497) Scenes from the Procession of the Magi, Detail of the  Old King on west wall of the Chapel, Palazzo Medici-Riccardi, Florence 1459-62


Benozzo Gozzoli (Italian early Renaissance painter,  c 1421–1497) Detail from the Procession of the Young King, Scenes from the Procession of the Magi Chapel, Palazzo Medici-Riccardi, Florence 1459-62


Benozzo Gozzoli (Italian early Renaissance painter,  c 1421–1497)  Detail from the Procession of the Middle King, Scenes from the Procession of the Magi Chapel, Palazzo Medici-Riccardi, Florence 1459-62


Benozzo Gozzoli (Italian early Renaissance painter,  c 1421–1497) Detail from the Procession of the Youngest King, Scenes from the Procession of the Magi Chapel, Palazzo Medici-Riccardi, Florence 1459-62


Benozzo Gozzoli (Italian early Renaissance painter,  c 1421–1497) Scenes from the Procession of the Magi Chapel, Palazzo Medici-Riccardi, Florence 1459-62

Epiphany - 1100s Magi on Their Journey


The Three Kings Admire the Star. Canterbury. c 1140. The British Library.

 In Christianity, the Epiphany refers to a realization that Christ is the son of God. Western Christian churches generally celebrate the arrival of the kings (the Adoration of the Magi) at the birthplace of Jesus & commemorate the Feast of the Epiphany on January 6. Traditionally, Eastern Christian churches celebrated Epiphany (or Theophany) in conjunction with Christ's baptism by John the Baptist & celebrated it on January 19th.   However, many have begun to adopt the Western custom of celebrating it on January 6, the 12th day of Christmas.  Some Protestant churches celebrate Epiphany as a season, extending from Christmas until Ash Wednesday.

Epiphany - The Kings finding the Christ Child

The Adoration Anonimo Siglo XIV-XV

Epiphany - Illuminated Manuscripts Early depictions of The Adoration of the Magi

Adoration of the Magi. Harley 2915 f. 33 British Library


Adoration of the Magi. Yates Thompson 2


Illuminated Manuscript of the Adoration Missal of Eberhard von Greiffenklau, Adoration of the Magi, Walters Manuscript W.174, fol. 19v detail


Illuminated Manuscript of the Adoration  of the magi 1400s HM 1163 Book of Hours of Paris manuscript at Huntington Library at Berkeley online at Digital Scriptorium.


Illuminated Manuscript of the Adoration  Gondarine sensul, Adoration of the Magi, Walters Manuscript 36.10, fol. 2r



Illuminated Manuscript of the Adoration Book of Hours in Dutch, Adoration of the Magi, Walters Manuscript W.188, fol. 108r detail


Illuminated Manuscript of the Adoration Carrow Psalter, Adoration of the Magi, Walters Manuscript W.34, fol. 33v detail


Illuminated Manuscript of the Adoration Miniature for None of Hours of the Virgin, fol. 50r Holland 1500s


1100s Illuminated Manuscript Echternach Codex Aureus Wise Men - Divine Warning


1100s Illuminated Manuscript Echternach Codex Aureus Adoration of the Magi


1100s Illuminated Manuscript Ottonian Regensburg The Adoration


Evangeliaire Egbert Adoration of the Magi


1310 Illuminated Manuscript Psalter of Robert de Lisle Author - Illustrator Madonna Master Production England


Illuminated Manuscript Riches Heures Adoration of the Magi


Illuminated ManuscriptHeures Epiphanie archives de Troyes Adoration of the Magi


 Anonimo en Chantilly


 Manuscrito Salterio Bamberger


 Salterio de Ingeborg de Dinamarca S XII-II


 Jean Fouquet XV


 Anonimo Siglo XI Codex Bruchsal


  Anonimo Germano 1240


 Pietro Cavallini Santa Maria 1296-1300


 Anonimo Oscense Siglo XII copia de Navasa

Epiphany - The evolution of the story of the Journey & the Adoration of the Magi in early art

Stefano Di Giovanni Sassetta (Italian artist, 1394-1450) Journey of the Magi 1435

Western paintings of the Journey & the Adoration of the Magi usually depict 3 Magi, represented as kings, traveling to find the newborn Jesus by following a star; laying before him gifts of gold, frankincense, & myrrh; & lingering to worship him.  Nowhere is the number of magi given in the Bible.

Stefano Di Giovanni Sassetta (Italian artist, 1394-1450) Adoration of the Magi c 1435

In Western Christianity, the arrival of the Magi at the site of Jesus' birth is called the Feast of the Epiphany, celebrated on January 6. The Orthodox Church commemorates the Adoration of the Magi on the Feast of the Nativity on December 25. Christian iconography has considerably expanded the simple biblical account of the Magi given in Matthew (2:1-11). The early church used the story to emphasize that Jesus was recognized, from his infancy, as king of the earth.

 Correggio (Antonio Allegri) (Italian painter, c 1489-1534) Adoration of the Christ Child by the Magi-1517

In the earliest depictions, the exotic Magi are shown wearing Persian dress of trousers & Phrygian caps with gifts held out before them. They echo centuries-older images of tribute-bearers from various Mediterranean & ancient Near Eastern cultures.

Domenico Ghirlandaio (Italian artist, 1449–1494) The Adoration of the Magi

The earliest specific Magi images are from catacomb paintings & sarcophagus reliefs of the 4C. Crowns are first seen in 10C depictions, mostly in the West, where their dress had lost much of its Oriental flavor in most cases.

  Giovanni Battista Tiepolo (1696-1770) Adoration of the Kings

Later Byzantine images often show the Magi wearing small pill-box like hats or skull caps. The Magi were usually shown as about the same age until about this period, but then the idea of depicting the concept of 3 ages of man was introduced into the iconography.

 Giovanni di Paolo (Giovanni di Paolo di Grazia) (Italian, Siena 1398–1482 Siena) Adoration of the Magi

Occasionally from the 12C, & very often in Northern Europe from the 15C, the Magi are also represent the 3 known parts of the world. Balthasar is often cast as a young African or Moor. An older Caspar is often portrayed with Asian features or dress. Melchior often comes to represent Europe & middle age.

Rogier van der Weyden (Flemish painter, 1400-1464) Adoration of the Magi

From the 14C, large retinues are depicted accompanying the Magi. Their gifts often are contained in spectacular pieces of goldsmith work, & the Magi's clothes are more detailed. By the 15C, the Adoration of the Magi is often a complex exercise for the artist showing his ability to paint crowded scenes of people & animals, as well as the rich silks, furs, jewels, & precious gold of the Kings contrasting with the simple wood of the stable, the straw of Jesus's manger, & the simple, utilitarian clothing of Joseph & the shepherds. The animals depicted often include the ox & ass from the Nativity story & also horses, camels, dogs, & falcons of the kings & sometimes even birds in the rafters of the stable.

 Stefan Lochner (German artist, 1400-1451) Adoration of the Magi 1440s


 Unknown Master, German (active 1470-80 in Mainfranken) Adoration of the Magi


 Unknown Master, German (active in 1420s in the Middle Rhineland).The Adoration of the Magi


 Unknown Master, Spanish (second half of 15th century) Adoration of the Magi


 1514 Workshop of Gerard David (Netherlandish, ca. 1460–1523), Adoration of the Magi

 1470s Hieronymus Bosch. Hieronymus, or Jerome, Bosch, (c 1450-1516) Adoration of the Magi


 Francesco Bassano the Younger (1563-1570) Adoration of Magi

Epiphany - Adoration of the Magi



 Adoration of the Magi Anonimo Austria 1450-90



 Adoration of the Magi Anonimo Cuzqueno 1740-60



 Adoration of the Magi Anonimo Mosaico



 Adoration of the Magi from the Grabower Altar of St Peters in Hambburg, Meister Bertram 1383



 Adoration of the Magi Maestro de la Adoracion de Viena 1410



 Adoration of the Magi Anonimo Rumano 1460-80 



 Adoration of the Magi Anonimo 1740



 Adoration of the Magi Anonimo 1400



Adoration of the Magi Anonimo Ethiopian



1320 Giotto The Epiphany - Adoration of the Magi



1380s Bartolo di Fredi Adoration of the magi Adoration of the Magi



1424 Master Francke Adoration of the Magi



Unknown Master, German (active in 1420s in the Middle Rhineland).The Adoration of the Magi



Quinten Metsys (Netherlandish painter, 1466-1530) The Adoration of the Magi, 1526



Unknown Master, German (active 1480-1520 in Cologne)  The Adoration of the Magi 1505



Andrea Mantegna (Italian painter, c 1431–1506) Adoration of the Magi



Domenico Ghirlandaio (Italian artist, 1449–1494) Adoration of the Shepherds



Unknown Master, German (active 1440s in the Middle Rhineland). Darmstadt Altarpiece The Epiphany