The Adoration of the Magi

Anonymous follower of Juan de Borgoña1535 - 1545

Fundación Banco Santander

Fundación Banco Santander

In the mid-20th century this panel was in Torre de Luzea (Guipúzcoa) where it was attributed to an anonymous Castilian master. In 1987 Díaz Padrón attributed it and its pair (The Presentation of Christ and the Purification of the Virgin Mary in the Temple) to an anonymous artist whom he termed The Master of Fuentelcarnero on the basis of similarities that he detected between figures in these two works and those in an altarpiece in the village of that name near Zamora (Museum of Toledo, Ohio, and subsequently on the art market). He connected this artist with the so-called Masters of Astorga and Zamora. The origins of their style lies in the work of Juan de Borgoña (documented in Toledo from 1495 until his death in 1536). In recent years new works have come to light by Juan de Borgoña’s son and by Lorenzo de Ávila, both of whom studied with him and were active in Toro in the second third of the 16th century, but their style does not correspond to that seen in the panels formerly in Luzea. In addition, it is evident that the artist of these two panels is not the same artist who painted a Nativity that the present author has attributed to a Toledan follower of Borgoña and who seems to be have been an assistant with less ability in the depiction of the faces and the proportions of the figures.

The influence of Borgoña is nonetheless evident in the present work, albeit less overtly, in the architectural setting and floor, in the harmonious disposition of the figures that are grouped around the two in the middle-ground and in the separation of the two principal groups. Thus the black King turns in an iconographically unusual gesture towards the page (who is not black). He in turn hands him the gift to be given to Christ while making a gesture of respect with his left hand. Another unusual iconographic element is the inscription on the Virgin’s halo, which reads: MATER REGIS ANGELORVM.

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  • Title: The Adoration of the Magi
  • Date Created: 1535 - 1545
  • Place Part Of: Spain
  • Physical Dimensions: w910 x h1190 mm (Complete)
  • Painter: Anonymous follower of Juan de Borgoña
  • Exhibition: Madrid, Spain
  • Type: Painting
  • Rights: Fundación Banco Santander, www.fundacionbancosantander.com
  • External Link: Fundación Banco Santander
  • Medium: Oil on panel