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Title Adoration of the Magi; Family of Zebedee
Alternative Title Bowes Museum Altarpiece
Collection Bowes Museum, Barnard Castle
Artist Attributed to Master of Saint Gudule (early Netherlandish painter, active ca.1470-1500) and studio
Previously attributed to school of Dürer, Albrecht (German printmaker and painter, 1471-1528)
Previously attributed to German (Westphalian) School
Date Earliest about 1465
Date Latest about 1475

This double-sided panel is from the upper right of an elaborate altarpiece with scenes of the Passion, which includes a carved Crucifixion and six painted panels. On the verso is the Family of Zebedee. Mary Salome holds a book for her young sons, the disciples James and John the Evangelist, to read. Their father Zebedee interrupts his own reading to look at them. This emphasis on the written word can be associated with the high regard for biblical sources of the Devotio Moderna movement of the late Middle Ages.

On the recto, the Magi adoring the infant Christ are observed by two shepherds through an arched window.

Current Accession Number B.M.1020
Inscription front cl 'Zebedee'; front cr 'Maria Salome'; front lc '.s. jeha le vangelist .s. jaque le grat'
Subject religion (Family of Zebedee, Adoration of the Magi)
Measurements 84.5 x 38.5 cm (estimate)
Material oil on panel
Acquisition Details Bequeathed by the founders John and Joséphine Bowes 1885.
Provenance Purchased by John and Joséphine Bowes from Monbro, 1859, as Rétable ancien a 6 portes peintes, as school of Dürer, 1500 fr.
Principal Exhibitions Loan Exhibition of Pictures from the Bowes Museum, Barnard Castle, Agnews, London, 1952, cat. no. 22, as 'Westphalian School'.
Publications Woods, K. W., 'Five Netherlandish Carved Altarpieces in England and the Brussels School of Carving c. 1470 - 1520', Burlington Magazine, vol. 138, 1996, pp. 788-94.

Other painted panels from the altarpiece are inv. numbers: B.M. 1018; B.M. 1019; B. M. 1021; B. M. 1022; B.M.1023.

K. W. Woods noted that this panel could have been painted by a different hand, possibly the Master A. H.. It was incorporated into the altarpiece as a replacement for a lost image, which may have represented an episode from the Life of the Virgin, with the Virgin kneeling to intercede with Christ for the salvation of the humankind.

Woods suggested a date between 1480-85 for the altarpiece, the carved elements of which she related to the style of Rogier van der Weyden.

Rights Owner The Bowes Museum, Barnard Castle, Co. Durham
Author Dr Mercedes Cerón; Dr Howard Coutts



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