Artwork of the Week: December 20

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The Adoration of the Magi

Bartolomé Esteban Murillo (Spanish, 1617–1682), The Adoration of the Magi, oil on canvas, about 1655–60. 75 1/8 x 57 1/2 in. The Great Gallery (Gallery 36)

As the leading painter in the Catholic city of Seville, Spain, Murillo was commissioned to paint almost exclusively for the churches and religious orders in the area. Because of his frequent travels to Madrid and Seville’s heavy involvement in international commerce, Murillo was introduced to many different artists and styles of painting. In this painting we see the Magi, or three wise men, coming to worship the Christ Child. The overall composition of the painting and the inclusion of the two young pages were derived from three versions of the subject by Flemish artist Peter Paul Rubens, works that Murillo would have known from engravings. This is Murillo’s only known painting of this subject matter.

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