Tuesday, January 06, 2009

Twelfth Day of Chrismas: Visitation of the Magi

Twelfth Night, Epiphany, is known throughout the Spanish speaking world as "Tres Reyes," as it commemorates the visit of the three kings--the Magi--to the baby Jesus. For whatever reason, the kings are generally pictured at the stable where Jesus was born. I don't think it makes too much sense that Mary and family would have remained at the humble place of Jesus' birth for a week and a half. However a painting with a mother and a child, animals, and resplendently dressed nobleman makes a picture more interesting to paint--and also to look at. This painting is chock full of people and animals, as contrasted to the painting I posted for the Fifth day of Christmas.

You can see this magnificent Nativity altarpiece by Gentile da Fabriano, painted in 1423, at the Uffizi Gallery in Florence. It is worth taking a moment to click on it and see it in greater detail. Do you see the ox and the donkey? If you look at the other nativity pictures which I posted for the 12 days of Christmas you will see that they play a prominent role in the paintings.


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