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A crowd is gathered beneath a stone archway next to a mountain and a stable.

In a vibrant, mountainous, tree-lined landscape, a crowd of many light-skinned and a few dark-skinned people is gathered. In the bottom left corner is a bearded man and a woman in a red head covering. The woman holds a baby on her lap. A man kneels on all fours facing the baby. Behind this group is a man with a rectangular crown. A young boy stands to the left. These figures are positioned under a gray stone and wood stable. Towering in the background is a boulder with an arch below it and a white castle on a distant hill.

Gallery Text

This scene of the adoration of Christ by the three wise men from the East was probably created by an artist working in Venice or its vicinity in the early 16th century. Executed in rich colors, the painting features decorative structures and fantastical rock outcroppings that characterize many works produced in the Veneto. Guided by a star shining above the Holy Family, the Magi (who were often depicted as kings) and their entourage proceed through a winding terrain to meet the newborn Jesus in Bethlehem. On the lower right, one of the wise men kneels to receive a blessing from the Christ Child. Another, wearing a turban (traditionally a reference to an Ethiopian king), gestures to this solemn moment, while the third prepares to offer a golden vessel to Christ.

Identification and Creation

Object Number
Marcello Fogolino, Italian (1483/88 - 1548)
Possibly by Girolamo del Santo, Italian (c. 1480 - after 1561)
Previously Melozzo da Forlì (1438 - 1494)
The Adoration of the Magi
Work Type
Italian, Venetian
Persistent Link


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

Oil on panel
119 x 93.2 cm (46 7/8 x 36 11/16 in.)
frame: 142.5 x 117.2 x 8.5 cm (56 1/8 x 46 1/8 x 3 3/8 in.)
Inscriptions and Marks
  • inscription: on back of frame, in graphite: 130
  • inscription: on back of frame, in black crayon: 111
  • inscription: on back of frame, in white chalk: 13


Recorded Ownership History
Duca di Gallese. Edward W. Forbes, 1899, gift; to Fogg Art Museum, 1899

Acquisition and Rights

Credit Line
Harvard Art Museums/Fogg Museum, Gift of Edward W. Forbes
Accession Year
Object Number
European and American Art

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Publication History

  • Harold N. Fowler, "Archaeological News", American Journal of Archaeology (April - June 1900), Vol. 4, No. 2, pp. 241-287, p. 285
  • Collection of Mediaeval and Renaissance Paintings, Fogg Art Museum (Cambridge, Massachusetts, 1919), cat. no. 40, repr.
  • Edward Waldo Forbes, Yankee Visionary, Fogg Art Museum (Cambridge, MA, 1971), p. 12, repr. in b/w p. 13
  • Burton B. Fredericksen and Federico Zeri, Census of Pre-Nineteenth-Century Italian Paintings in North American Public Collections, Harvard University Press (Cambridge, MA, 1972), p. 71
  • Edgar Peters Bowron, European Paintings Before 1900 in the Fogg Art Museum: A Summary Catalogue including Paintings in the Busch-Reisinger Museum, Harvard University Art Museums (Cambridge, MA, 1990), p. 13, repr. b/w as Fig. 2 (intro); pp. 107, 329 repr. b/w cat. no. 668
  • Everett Fahy, "Why Not Girolamo del Santo?", Il più dolce lavorare che sia: Mélanges en l'honneur de Mauro Natale, ed. Frédéric Elsig, Silvana Editoriale (Milan, 2009), pp. 39-43, fig. 1

Exhibition History

  • Edward Waldo Forbes: Yankee Visionary, Fogg Art Museum, 01/16/1971 - 02/22/1971
  • 32Q: 2540 Renaissance, Harvard Art Museums, Cambridge, 07/18/2018 - 01/01/2050

Related Works

Verification Level

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