The Adoration of the Kings by Mabuse


AMONG the more celebrated of the paintings of Mabuse in his own time was a "Descent from the Cross" on the high altar of the monastery of St. Michael of Tongerloo. At the command of Philip of Burgundy, Mabuse executed a replica of it for the church at Middleburgh. Dürer--such was the fame of the picture-traveled there to see it. He had already seen the great altar piece of the Van Eycks, at Ghent, and written of it in his diary: "A most precious and important painting." Of the Mabuse he noted that it was not so good in design as in execution. This may be taken as a not ungenerous estimate of the work of Mabuse in its entirety.

Whether or not "The Adoration of the Kings" be felt to fall under Dürer's criticism of the Middleburgh painting, it unquestionably yields under Italian influence some measure of that national integrity which, like integrity of character in man, is a precious element of art.

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