Adoration of the Magi - Peter Brueghel the Elder. 111.1x83.2
Peter Brueghel the Elder or Muzhitsky is a great Dutch painter and draftsman.
The artist turned three times to the gospel story of the worship of the Magi. The first painting, kept at the Royal Museum of Fine Arts in Brussels, was created between 1556-1562. It is not painted on a wooden board, but on a canvas and is rather poorly preserved. The second is presented here, and the third, located at the Oscar Reinart Collection in Winterthur, is made in 1567.
At first glance, this work seems to correspond to Catholic iconography: the Holy Family is in the center, the Baby is in the hands of the Virgin Mary, part of her face is covered with a veil, behind is Joseph, the magi present gifts, as usual, the eldest, kneeling Caspar, is gold. In the minds of people since the Middle Ages, the magi symbolized three then known parts of the world - Europe, Asia and Africa. Thus, Balthazar was portrayed as black and personified Africa.
For all its traditionality, the faithful did not accept the picture: while it was still possible to reconcile with the caricatured images of secondary actors, the image of Joseph was unacceptable. He does not radiate piety, but, on the contrary, clearly demonstrates complete indifference to what is happening. In a similar interpretation of the canonical plot - the whole of Brueghel.