Jorge Barradas (b. 1894 - d. 1971), a Portuguese Modernist painter and illustrator, was one of the artists responsible for the renewed interest in ceramics, granting it the status of a modern artistic discipline. Assuming the statute of traditional art, an identifying mark of Portuguese culture, azulejos gained new importance in the context of commissions for public spaces, leaving behind the increasingly less spontaneous recreations of baroque, rococo and neoclassical themes and models. In this depiction of the Three Kings on their way to Bethlehem to adore the Child Jesus, one notes Jorge Barradas’ experience as an illustrator in the way the drawing is markedly outlined and coloured in dense colours. The drawing is done in fine lines to create volumes or shadows, as if we were looking at an image on paper, where the chromatic saturation in the same places adds greater intent. The Three Kings are shown on horseback, in successive planes, but turned away from each other so as to fill the entire composition. The motif, clearly inspired by references from Italian painting, has some affinity with the Renaissance painting on the same theme by Benozzo Gozzoli (b. 1421 – d.1497), where some of the people portrayed are directly looking at the viewer. This same device is used by Jorge Barradas in this panel, placing Caspar in second plan, looking at us as if sending out a mute appeal, seconded by the gesture of Balthazar, behind him. It was first shown in 1945 at the exhibition of Artistic Faiences ("Faianças Artísticas") by Jorge Barradas.


  • Title: The Three Kings
  • Creator: Jorge Barradas
  • Date Created: 1945
  • Physical Location: MNAz, Museu Nacional do Azulejo, Lisbon, Portugal
  • Physical Dimensions: 130 cm x 130 cm
  • Medium: Polychrome faience

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