The Adoration of the Kings Giorgione Buy Art Prints Now
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Tom Gurney BSc (Hons) is an art history expert with over 20 years experience
Published on June 19, 2020 / Updated on October 14, 2023
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The Adoration of the Kings is a piece of artwork that was done between 1506 and 1507; a period mostly referred to as the High Renaissance.

It is an element of Venetian art by Giorgione. There is a possibility of the painting being done as part of the lower part or predella of an altarpiece based on its shape and composition. Predellas were used in this piece of art even though they had become rare at the time the painting was done. On the painting, there is a child, the virgin and Saint Joseph who are sitting on the steps of the stable where Jesus was born. Three kings brought gifts that they were presenting to Christ. They kneel at a distance further from the holy family. The gifts that are given by the three kings range from myrrh, golden bowl and a glass of orb believed to contain frankincense. The three kings were identified as Melchior, Caspar and Balthasar.

Those in attendance wear exotic turbans and costumes, which is an indication of remembrance of their origin. This painting was done early in Giorgione's career, and this makes it one of the foundations of understanding his work. The medium used for the painting is oil on wood, and it measures H29.8 x W81.3 cm. It was acquired through purchase, 378 years after it was completed. At the time, the use of oil in painting was a new technique that made it possible for the artist to depict the effects of color and light in a better way. The influence of Giovanni Bellini's work and the work of other Venetian artists is evident in Giorgione's work. He produced extensive public works, but most of his paintings were smaller in size and done for private patrons. In his art, Adoration of the Kings, Giorgione appears more concerned with expressing the mood than the subject matter.

The setting, the blurry light in the background and the soft definition of shapes are characteristic to his paintings. The insidious use of light to convey the quality of the surrounding is an expression of the influence of Leonardo da Vinci's works in his art. Giorgione's work and style much inspired Titian, his assistant. Titian went further and completed most of Giorgione's paintings after his demise in 1510. Titian developed most of the innovations by Giorgione throughout his career, and this made him the most famous Venetian artist during the Italian Renaissance period. Titian's rise was due to the inspiration by Giorgione.