The Isabella Breviary


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f. 41r, Adoration of the Magi

A twenty-four line framed miniature over both columns of text of the Adoration of the Magi (Mt 2 vv. 1-12), which is the Gospel for the day in the Dominican Missal. The three magi, all having taken off their caps, come before the Christ Child held by Mary. Two are kneeling, but the black magus is beginning to genuflect to join them in the Adoration of the Child, and behind them are their servants and a distant landscape. The foremost kneeling king has laid his gift, a golden hanap, on the ground. This miniature may be by Gerard David and, except for the position of Joseph placed behind the Virgin and Child, the iconography is almost identical to David’s Adoration in Munich, Alte Pinakothek. In the Grimani Breviary Nativity the figure grouping seems to be directly derived from this composition. There is a full border of the first category with silver-white acanthus leaves and flowers on a gold ground.


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