- Museum number
The Adoration of the Magi, in a mountainous landscape; on the right a hut with a donkey and an ox; St Joseph sitting nearby; the Virgin holding in her lap the Christ Child who makes a blessing gesture and holds one of the Magi's gifts; one King kneeling kissing Christ's feet while the others carry gifts; accompanied by a large retinue of people and soldiers on foot or on horseback with banners, dogs and a camel; in the foreground a dog with a muzzle, two cheetahs and a pair of dogs drinking at a spring. c.1470-90
- Production date
- 1470-1490 (circa)
Height: 268 millimetres
Width: 402 millimetres
- Curator's comments
- This early impression belongs to a group of engravings of miscellaneous subjects, catalogued by Hind as executed in the 'Broad Manner', now attributed to Francesco Rosselli. For this group see the entry for Hind B.III.9 (P&D 1875-6-12-18).
The print is probably to be identified as the 'Nativita' described in the Rosselli inventory as engraved on the verso of the same plate as the first version of the 'Deluge' (Hind B.III.1.I and Mark J. Zucker, 'The Illustrated Barsch, Commentary', vol. 24, part 2, 1994, p. 75, no. 060): '1o diluvio di un foglio reale, e una nativita'" (a Deluge of one royal folio, and a Nativity).
There are traces of another composition imperfectly burnished out in the background, a walled and turreted city corresponding to that in the 'David and Goliath' (for a comparison see Hind B.III.6.IIa,b and Mark J. Zucker, 'The Illustrated Barsch, Commentary', vol. 24, part 2, 1994, pp. 83-85, no. 065).
The engraving shares a number of features with other prints attributed to Francesco Rosselli: the hut, the ox and the ass are similar to those in the 'Nativity' from the series of 'The Life of the Virgin and Child'; moreover, the group of figures in the l centre (the horse seen from the rear, the adjacent youth with a spear and a pair of men with two dogs on leash) is repeated in the 'Solomon and the Queen of Sheba' (respectively Hind B.I.3.II; B.III.4.II and Mark J. Zucker, 'The Illustrated Barsch, Commentary', vol. 24, part 2, 1994, pp.12, 79, nos. 003, 063).
The mountainous landscape also corresponds, in reverse, to that in a pen-and-wash drawing on vellum in the BM (P&D 1898-11-23-4) illustrating 'Moses on Mount Sinai'; formerly attributed to the Florentine painter Francesco Pesellino, the drawing is now thought to be by Maso Finiguerra or his workshop.
This print was issued as a black and white facsimile by the British Museum in 'Prints and Drawings in the British Museum, Reproduced by Photographic Process', [First Series] Part I (Italian Prints), Published by the Trustees in 1882, where it was number V and described there as 'Anonymous. The Adoration of the Magi, c.1450.'; (Shelfmark 245*.b.12).
Franz Rechberger's inscription on the verso indicates that the print was once part of the de Fries collection, of which Rechberger was curator.
- Not on display
- Exhibition history
1995/6 Oct-Jan, Aylesbury, Buckingham County Museum, The Magi
- Acquisition date
- Prints and Drawings
- Registration number