The Adoration of the Kings


The National Gallery, London

The National Gallery, London

Possibly painted as part of the predella of an altarpiece, though predellas were already rare in Venetian art in Giorgione's lifetime. The three kings (magi) are all kneeling. The most prominent has already presented his gift, which is held by Saint Joseph.

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  • Title: The Adoration of the Kings
  • Creator: Giorgione
  • Date Created: 1506-7
  • Physical Dimensions: 29.8 x 81.3 cm
  • Type: Painting
  • Medium: Oil on wood
  • School: Italian (Venetian)
  • More Info: Explore the National Gallery’s paintings online
  • Inventory number: NG1160
  • Artist Dates: active 1506; died 1510
  • Artist Biography: Giorgione's influence on 16th-century Venetian art was very great, most directly on Titian, with whom he worked, and who completed some of his unfinished pictures. Giorgione's achievement rests on his use of deeply saturated colours, his innovative poetic and often enigmatic subjects, and his novel use of landscape to create atmosphere. Little is known about Giorgione and his life, and there is little agreement on which works can be firmly attributed to him. He came from Castelfranco in the Veneto, and is referred to as 'maistro Zorzi da Castelfranco' in an inscription dated to 1506. In Venetian dialect, Giorgio becomes Zorzi. Giorgione means 'big George'. He worked on a painting, since destroyed, for the Doge's Palace in Venice and, in 1508, on frescoes for the exterior of the Fondaco dei Tedeschi (the German merchants' warehouse) in Venice (fragments in the Ca' d'Oro, Venice). An exchange of letters in late 1510 with Isabella d'Este, who wanted to acquire a work by him, record the artist's death of the plague. He was probably quite young.
  • Acquisition Credit: Bought, 1884