The Adoration of the Kings by Durer



BELIEF in the legend of the visit of the Three Kings to the Infant Jesus was substantiated in the minds of the middle ages by the presence in Cologne of their alleged remains and by the plausible or, for all we know, accurate record of the wanderings of those remains from the time of their first uncovering in Persia in the fourth century. Eleven hundred years, it seems, were pedigree enough. Dürer follows tradition in representing the three kings as of three races and three ages, symbolizing that men of every race and age will worship Christ.

Dürer, carrying on the tradition of the factual Flemish school as established by the Van Eycks, was himself a sound and powerful influence upon the art of northern Europe of his time. A student of Italian art and of the works of antiquity, he was on the whole as little touched by southern influence as the Italians were unimpressed by his paintings. As a painter, Dürer is an important master of the important German branch of the great north European school of the fourteenth, fifteenth and sixteenth centuries. As a wood cutter and engraver he is by virtue of consummate craftsmanship and superb imagination perhaps the greatest master of all time.

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