Indiana University Bloomington IU Bloomington IUB

The Adoration of the Magi

This etching, considered one of Giovanni Tiepolo’s finest graphic achievements, is a lavish tableau, full of exotic visions. By the eighteenth century, the church had lost its dogmatic grip on artists, who were no longer artisans working within set guidelines, but individuals free to search their own imaginations for inspiration. While Tiepolo’s print illustrates the biblical event as an extension of his own time and space, his Adoration still contains many traditional motifs. The Madonna, ensconced in a combination of a stable and a ruin, holds the nude Christ Child, while before them kneels a Magus, who reverently kisses the baby’s foot.

Giovanni Battista Tiepolo
Venetian, 1696–1770
The Adoration of the Magi
ca. 1740
Etching on paper
Image: 16 3/8 x 11 1/8 in. (41.6 x 28.2 cm); plate: 17 1/6 x 11 3/8 in. (43.3 x 28.9 cm); sheet: 18 3/16 x 12 3/8 in. (46.2 x 31.4 cm)
Sidney and Lois Eskenazi Museum of Art, William H. Conroy Memorial, 72.83