The A. M E. Review
"THE ADORATION OF THE MAGI," WITH SPECIAL
REFERENCE TO MABUSE'S PAINTING.
F. H. M. Murray.
THE purchase, a short while since, for the Na-
tional Gallery, London, of the celebrated
painting generally known to the art world
as the "Howard Mabuse," serves to call at-
tention to the Biblical event which the pic-
ture portrays. This event and this picture of
it, have a special interest to us for reasons which will be herein
The price paid for this picture was a little over forty thou-
sand pounds sterling ($200,000), the highest price, with one ex-
ception (the "Madonna Ansidei" by Raphael), ever paid by a
public gallery for a picture.
The scene portrayed is "The Adoration of the Magi" and
represents the "three kings" in the act of adoring and present-
ing their gifts to the infant Jesus. And, following the ancient
tradition, one of the kings is a black man.
As is well known, the favorite, indeed almost the universal,
theme of the Medieval and especially the early Renaissance
artists was the God-mother (Madonna) and scenes from the
life of Jesus. No subject was more often chosen for portrayal
with the brush than one or more of the events connected with
the journey and adoration of the "Magi"--which was the literal
name of the "wise men"--who saw and followed the "Star in
All that is said of these events in the Bible is contained in
the first twelve verses of the second chaper of Matthew. We
read: "There came wise men from the east to Jerusalem say-
ing. 'Where is he that is born king of the Jews? for we have
seen his star in the east and are come to worship him.'" And