This exhibition is no longer on view at the National Gallery.
Overview: Three paintings of the Magi—or wise men—by the Flemish master Peter Paul Rubens will be reunited at the National Gallery of Art for the first time in more than 130 years. Rubens painted these bust-length biblical figures around 1618 for his close childhood friend Balthasar Moretus, who was head of the prestigious Plantin Press, the largest press in Europe at the time. Balthasar and his two brothers, Gaspar and Melchior, were named after the Three Magi, thus these works had special personal meaning for the patron. The paintings are now owned by three different institutions: the middle-aged king from the Gallery’s collection will be joined by the young king from the Museum Plantin-Moretus in Antwerp, Belgium, and the old king from the Museo de Arte de Ponce, Puerto Rico.
Image: Peter Paul Rubens, One of the Three Magi, possibly Balthasar, c. 1618, oil on panel, Museum Plantin-Moretus, Antwerp—UNESCO World Heritage
Peter Paul Rubens, One of the Three Magi, possibly Melchior, c. 1618, oil on panel, National Gallery of Art, Washington, Chester Dale Collection
Peter Paul Rubens, One of the Three Magi, possibly Gaspar, c. 1618, oil on panel, Museo de Arte de Ponce, The Luis A. Ferré Foundation, Inc.