• Adoration of the Magi

Adoration of the Magi

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Adoration of the Magi
Artist: Albrecht Durer;
Oil painting on panel; Painting size: 100x114 cm; Galleria degli Uffizi, Florence.

The painting Adoration of the Magi of Durer was painted in 1504, it is constructed with a sure grasp of perspective and displays Italian influences in the light and the handling of the atmosphere. His study of Leonardo da Vinci is evident in the characterization of the expressions of the figures and probably in the agitation of the horsemen in the background as well. The image is framed in an unusual way, with the Virgin shown in profile, while the crumbling buildings around her seem to allude to the dissolution of the pagan world or of the Old Law, which had lapsed with the coming of Christ, although it is also possible, in 16th-century culture, that they are simply a reflection of the renewed interest in antiquity. The presence of plantain, a herb reputed to have the property of healing wounds, is a reference to the blood shed by Christ on the cross. In the same way the butterfly symbolizes immortality and salvation, while the donkey baring its teeth, a symbol of stubborn Northern resistance, can be interpreted as the Old Law menacing the New Revelation.

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