The Wallace Collection

The Wallace Collection, A Family Collection, A National Museum, An International Treasure House
The Adoration of the Magi
  • Peter Paul Rubens (1577 - 1640)
  • The Adoration of the Magi
  • Southern Netherlands
  • c. 1624
  • Painting
  • Oil on oak panel
  • Image size: 63.6 x 48.3 cm
    Frame size: 73.5 x 57.5 cm
  • P519
  • East Drawing Room
Further Reading
  • This painting shows the Magi, traditionally astrologers but later redefined as kings, paying homage to the Christ Child. Caspar, the oldest, is shown kneeling before the infant Christ and offering his gift of gold, in homage to Christ’s kingship. Behind him leans Melchior, carrying frankincense, while the central figure in the turban is Balthazar, holding his gift of myrrh. The picture is the modello (a sketch shown to a patron for approval of the composition) for Rubens’s great altarpiece for Saint Michael’s Abbey, Antwerp (now in the Koninklijk Museum voor Schone Kunsten, Antwerp), painted c.1624. The final composition exhibits a number of compositional variations and is even grander and more monumental in conception.