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Adoration of the Magi

ca. 1740 (possibly)
Origin: America, New York, Schenectady (probably)
Unframed: 29 3/4" x 36 5/8" and Framed: 35 1/2" X 42 1/2"
Oil on canvas
Museum Purchase
Acc. No. 1964.101.1
A crowded composition showing a seated, haloed woman at the left holding a haloed baby toward a kneeling figure of a man who holds a censer. A ray of light leads from a star in the sky to the baby's head. A dark, cloaked figure is behind the baby. Two figures stand to the right of the kneeling man, both of them looking at the baby. A child in a feathered headdress appears to the right of the two, facing towards the viewer and looking right, away from the baby. A group of soldiers stands in the right background. In the left background, the framework of a crude building is shown, with a cow gazing toward the baby over the top of a decoratively painted pedestal (the manger).

Artist unidentified.

The original 3 1/4-inch cove-molded, black-painted frame has flat inner and outer edges; it has been stripped and repainted, and its corner splines have been replaced.
Label:Several other scripture paintings attributable to the unidentified artist are known. The inscription in the lower margin refers to the second chapter of the evangelist Matthew, where the biblical account of the adoration of the Magi appears. The story, however, includes no allusion to the group of soliders, whose spears create such dramatic silhouettes here. Their appearance in the painting is believed to be a continuance of a Renaissance convention that symbolied Herod's decree of slaughter for all the young children of Bethlehem. The round object on the ground at left is the kneeling Magus's crowned hat.
Provenance:Descended in the Glen-Sanders family, Scotia, NY.
Inscription(s):In white paint in the lower margin is "Eva n [n.b. The "n" is superscript] Math = 2". In black paint on the reverse of the upper frame member are the initials "E. S."