Painting Up the Holidays!


"Adoration of the Magi", by Gentile da Fabriano, c. 1423

“Adoration of the Magi”, by Gentile da Fabriano, c. 1423

"Adoration of the Magi" Detail

“Adoration of the Magi” Detail

 During this holiday season, people all over the world are celebrating many festivities, such as Hanukkah, Kwanza, Ramadan, and Christmas. Christmas, which marks the birth of Jesus has been a prevalent theme in Western art history. Compositions showing this event have ranged from the most simplistic representations to extremely detailed and ornate works of art.

The “Adoration of the Magi” is a very famous painting by the Italian artist Gentile da Fabriano. It has been described as “the culminating work of International Gothic painting.” The panel portrays the path of the three Magi in several scenes and continues clockwise, to the larger meeting with the Virgin Mary and the newborn Jesus which occupies the lowest part of the picture. All the figures wear fabulous Renaissance costumes, brocades richly decorated with real gold and precious stones inserted in the panel. That’s right; Fabriano put real gold and precious stones in his art! But Fabriano didn’t stop there. He extended the story in sections within the ornate frame. The predella (the lower part of the frame) has three rectangular paintings with scenes of Jesus’ childhood: the Nativity, the Flight into Egypt and the Presentation at the Temple.

This is just one sample of one work of art for one faith. During this holiday season, no matter what your artistic preference or your religious beliefs, I wish you all




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