Analysis Of The St Columba Altarpiece

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The St Columba Altarpiece (Columbia Triptych, c.1460), a three-panel altarpiece by a well renowned artist Rogier van der Weyden's, is considered a powerful piece of art and has inspired many artists. Created approximately around 1460, it tells a narrative of the events surrounding the birth of Jesus Christ. The Adoration of the Magi is the middle panel and perhaps the most famous piece among the three. It portrays the visit of the Kings to the newborn Jesus. Since it is an altarpiece, and portrays religious events, there is enough evidence to believe that the painting was commissioned by a church in St Columba, hence its name.
The painting was created using oil paint on a wooden surface. Unlike several artworks of the northern renaissance,
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He is standing on the right side of the Virgin Mary and observing the situation. His facial expression looks a bit upsetting. There is a small table on his left where they placed one of the presents brought by the Magi. The Virgin Mary is sitting at the center with Jesus in her arms. She is wearing a vivid blue gown with white fabric underneath. There is a ray of light surrounding her head and she is watching the baby with tenderness. The Virgin Mary’s blue figure is contrasted by the vivid reds surrounding her – on the Magi, on Joseph’s garments, the priest’s and more – thus accentuating the focal point of the painting on her. The newborn infant on the other hand is half covered with a white cloth that symbolizes purity and innocence.
Meanwhile on the ground, the older Magus, dressed in expensive clothing and jewelry made of gold is kneeling in front of the Virgin Mary and Jesus. He had removed his hat- the giant red hat laying on the ground across from him- as a sign of respect. He is carefully holding the small feet of the newborn Savior and admiring him. His second companion is right behind him making his way to the baby while carrying a golden chalice as a present. He is wearing fine embroidered expensive textile and a red cloak. Following him, the youngest of the Magi is carrying another present made of gold with one hand and removing his turban with the other, while waiting for his turn to see the newborn babe.

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