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Adoration of the Kings

Photo credit: The National Gallery, London

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The Three Kings – Caspar, Melchior and Balthasar – present gifts to the Christ Child in the ruins of a grand building. The Virgin Mary sits on the edge of the manger while Saint Joseph, her husband, comes down a staircase just visible to the left. A crowd of curious onlookers, some wearing turbans, peer through the arch on the right. In the field behind Caspar’s head we can see an ox and a donkey, while everyday life goes on in the street of the town behind.

This painting was perhaps once part of a polyptych (a multi-panelled altarpiece) showing the life of Christ painted by Gerard David in Antwerp after 1515. It is likely that a similarly sized panel, the Lamentation, comes from the same complex.

The National Gallery, London



Adoration of the Kings


about 1515


Oil on oak


H 60 x W 59.2 cm

Accession number


Acquisition method

Bequeathed by Mrs Joseph H. Green, 1880

Work type



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Normally on display at

The National Gallery, London

Trafalgar Square, London, Greater London WC2N 5DN England

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