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Three-segmented, hinged altarpiece painted with scenes of crowds in a hall.

This altarpiece consists of a larger central panel with a rounded top and two symmetrical side pieces attached by hinges. The central panel shows a light-skinned woman holding a nude baby. On all sides, male figures of different skin tones present ornate vessels to the baby. On the left, the baby lies on a wooden platform while figures kneel around him. In the right panel, a woman holds the baby on a white table while figures lean toward him. All the scenes take place in a hall with elaborately sculpted columns and doorways that reveal a city landscape outside.

Gallery Text

The unidentified master’s name derives from the date on an altarpiece in a church in Lübeck, Germany. He belonged to a group of artists, active in Antwerp from about 1510 to 1530, whose paintings are characterized by attenuated figures striking mannered poses in brightly colored costumes, and the grafting of Italian Renaissance ornament onto the medieval architecture that often serves as a backdrop. Rather than working on commission, some Antwerp workshops produced ready-made altarpieces depicting standard subjects suitable for ecclesiastical settings that did not require specific iconographic programs. The work on display here belongs to this type and retains the original, plain molding that frames other examples. Many of these retables (altarpieces) were exported through Antwerp trading channels as far as northern Germany, Poland, Spain, and Portugal.

Identification and Creation

Object Number
Master of 1518, Netherlandish (active early 16th century)
The Adoration of the Magi; left panel: The Nativity; right panel: The Presentation in the Temple
Other Titles
Alternate Title: Triptych: Adoration of the Magi; left panel: The Nativity; right panel: The Presentation in the Temple
Work Type
c. 1520
Creation Place: Europe, Belgium, Antwerp
Persistent Link


Level 2, Room 2540, European Art, 13th–16th century, The Renaissance
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Physical Descriptions

Oil on panel
119.4 x 168.9 cm (47 x 66 1/2 in.)
framed: 121 x 172 cm (47 5/8 x 67 11/16 in.)

Acquisition and Rights

Credit Line
Harvard Art Museums/Fogg Museum, Anonymous Gift in honor of Seymour Slive
Accession Year
Object Number
European and American Art

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Exhibition History

  • Northern European Art from 1450 to 1550, Harvard University Art Museums, Cambridge, 08/13/1994 - 02/05/1995
  • 32Q: 2540 Renaissance, Harvard Art Museums, Cambridge, 11/16/2014 - 01/01/2050

Subjects and Contexts

  • Google Art Project

Related Works

Verification Level

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