In Christian tradition, the feast of the Epiphany marks the revelation of the divine nature of Jesus to the three kings from the East. This feast was an extremely popular theme in fine art around the year 1500. Numerous artists depicted the Adoration of the Magi with exotic figures, elaborate clothing, and ornate objects.
Hieronymus Bosch portrayed the theme a number of times. Two paintings known to be entirely by him have survived: one of them in the collection of the Metropolitan Museum of Art (New York) and the other in the Museo del Prado (Madrid). Both paintings were copied and imitated from early on.
This early appreciation from Bosch's own time is striking. Over thirty early copies remain, making Bosch's interpretation one of the most popular compositions from the Low Countries of the later Middle Ages. The Bosch Research and Conservation Project has studied a number of these copies very closely. These important works by Bosch, and their influence, are examined here in their cultural and historic context.
Foreword; Introduction; Epiphany and Hieronymus Bosch; A Masterly Adoration; Replicating Bosch' Adoration.