Pauca Verba is Latin for A Few Words.

Monday, January 9, 2017

Christmas~Epiphany ~ Savor It!

Adoration of the Magi ~ Gentile de Fabriano  ~ 1423

This marvelous Renaissance painting is nine feet long and a little more than six feet high. Fabriano put everything he had into its creation: the paints are made of brilliant materials and even precious stones have been embedded to create the richness we see here. 

Actually the whole story of the visiting Magi is told throughout. In the upper left hand corner (which we don't see) and across the top, we travel with the Magi on their long journey. Then the image draws us around to the bottom left where we see this dramatic and lively adoration of the Holy Child and the giving of gifts. Fabriano has made the story very exotic, including a camel, a lion, and a monkey. By the look of it, the Magi have told others where they were going, and this great crowd grew and followed along.

We notice Mary's mid-wives, girl-friends or neighbors talking about the first gift which Mary has evidently handed off, her arms already full with a wriggling baby. A servant-boy seems to be taking care of the shoes the third guest is wearing. The traditional donkey and cow are in the cave. In contrast to the energized and maybe noisy crowd, we see Joseph standing in silence, reminding us that this is a contemplative moment. Maybe he broke his silence simply to indicate, "Shh!"

What shall we present unto Thee, O Christ,
for Thy coming to earth for us men?
Each of Thy creatures brings Thee a thank-offering - 
The angels - singing
The heavens - a star.
The wise men - treasures
The shepherds - devotion.
The earth - a cave.
The desert - a manger.
But we offer Thee, the Virgin-Mother.
O eternal God have mercy upon us.

Eastern Christian Hymn


  1. What shall we bring? I can only think that the baby in Mary's arms would want our selfless love to be spread over the earth.

    1. Well there you have it: "our selfless love spread over the earth." Amen.

  2. Love thsee posts. Thanks for your thoughts and for helping us to find real meanings in things.

    1. In truth, the pleasure is mine. Thanks for following the posts.

  3. I can feel the excitement in this wonderful painting, for The Birth of Jesus. The choice of colors magnifies it more. Its like the whole neighborhood has heard of this Special Baby and wants to take a look. Great!

    1. Yes. If you'd care to see the entire painting just google: Fabriano The Adoration of the Magi. We see all the sub-scenes of the magi traveling.