Adoration of the Magi - Geertgen Toth Sint Jans. 91.6x71.8
The artist lived, not being a monk, in the Harlem monastery of the Brotherhood of St. John (Sint Yane), from which he got his name. The work of this master belongs to the early period of painting of the Northern Renaissance.
This altar work presents Adoration of the Magi to the Child Christ. Having learned about the Savior’s birth, they came to Him from different parts of the world, therefore Caspar, kneeling on one knee and holding out a goblet with golden coins, represents Europe, Cupronickel, whose golden goblet is supported by a fair-haired boy, - Asia, and Balthazar with a crystal vessel in hand - Africa.
The composition of the picture and the interpretation of the images of the Magi goes back to the work of Hugo van der Hus “Altar of Monforte” (1470). But Gertgen's painting that Sint Jansa is drier, linear. The wise men riding in the background and the landscape send imagination to medieval miniatures, and the entire painting with its bright colors, whimsical lines and sophisticated forms resembles the art of late Gothic.
The master lovingly wrote out the details: from the ornate clothes of the characters in the foreground to the pond with a heron in the middle and the robes of the magi and their retinue in the distance, but he built the composition so that its lines converge at one point - the figure of Christ, and thereby conveyed the depth of space . In addition, he sought to make the images full-blooded and reflect on the faces of the participants in the scene their emotions. These features indicate the onset of the Renaissance in North European painting.