Tuesday, March 6, 2007

The Meeting of the Three Kings

At the Getty Museum in Los Angeles, there is a very striking painting just adjacent to The Coronation of the Virgin by Gentile de Fabriano. The picture of The Meeting of the Three Kings with David and Isaiah is attributed to the Master of the St. Bartholomew Altarpiece, a Netherlandish artist from before 1480. This artist from Cologne was known for his independent style.

I spent some time looking at the three kings from foreign lands and their servants who meet suddenly at a desolate mountain pass. We think of them traveling together to worship the Child Jesus, but they start from distant countries of origin. The star has brought them to this meeting point and they will continue their journey together. David and Isaiah are depicted with their scrolls because the artist identifies this place as where the entire message of salvation comes together like pieces of a puzzle. The tableau suggests that here these three wise men share their knowledge and the journey to find the One all humanity has been waiting for.

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