Columba Altarpiece, circa 1455
Oil on oak panel
Alte Pinakothek, Munich, Germany
Today's work of art is the middle panel of an altarpiece from the Kapelle St. Columba in Cologne, Germany, depicting the Magi worshiping the infant Christ. Speaking of Cologne, I learned just this morning that the preserved bones of those very same Magi can be found in that very city. The story goes that Saint Helena, the mother of the Emperor Constantine, discovered the relics of the Three Wise Men during her pilgrimage to Palestine and the Holy Land. She took the bones to the Hagia Sophia in Constantinople; they later were moved to Milan; and finally Frederick I of the Holy Roman Empire had them moved to the Shrine of the Three Kings at Cologne Cathedral. Never mind that the Magi weren't kings and there's no mention in the Bible of how many there were. And in the painting up there, the Magi didn't visit the infant Christ in the manger; he was two years old or so, and living in a house, or so the Gospel According to Matthew says.
Thus endeth this season's Advent project. Hope you enjoyed it! Here are the stats, if you care:
Decorative Arts: 4
A little heavier on paintings than I might have hoped, but those are the breaks of the game.