Iconographical Analysis: Di Nardo, 'Adoration of the Magi'

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The painting "Adoration of the Magi" by di Nardo portrays the three Magi approaching the baby Jesus and the Virgin Mary. However, there is much more to it than just this familiar scene from Judeo-Christian lore. When approaching this painting in order to analyze it iconographically, it is necessary to first look at all aspects of the form. If this aspect is ignored, it provides for an incomplete analysis of the painting. Once this is looked at, the iconography of the painting becomes much clearer, and it is easier to compare the painting to the actual biblical text from which it was derived (Gospel of St. Matthew 2:1 - 2:12). When approaching the painting the first thing I noticed was the odd perspective. There are several vanishing points. Also, all of the figures seem to be placed on one plane. Because of this, the two figures that represent Jesus and Mary seem to be hovering weirdly above the ground. This, I believe, draws the viewer's attention to these two figures, since they are the main focus of the painting. Due to the influence of my culture, I recognized the figures as Jesus and Mary immediately. However, despite this, there are a few indicators as to who the people represented in the painting are. When viewing the painting, it is obvious that the figures of mother and child are the main point because the gazes of all of the people in the represented center on the child, including the mother's. Also, the weird hovering effect also directs the viewer's attention to these two figures. Both Mary and Jesus have halos, but this is not necessarily a distinguishing factor seeing as how there are also four other figures in the painting that have halos. However, the halo that surrounds the head of the baby Jesus has a slightly different pattern than those that the other figures possess. This lets you know that for whatever reason, this child is set apart from all other figures in the painting. So, even if the viewer is of another culture or...
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