Epiphany Tympanum

12th century
Stone, paint
Museum of the Cathedral of St. James
Santiago de Compostela, Spain

The Magi are represented as kings; there is no suggestion that they might be of different ages. Their star is above the kneeling king. One of them is an African, although with rather European facial features. The child blesses the onlooker from the lap of his mother, who sits on a throne, wears a crown, holds an orb, and is the focal point of the composition. It is she that the angels are censing. The woman kneeling on the right could be her cousin Elizabeth, who declared her "blessed among women" (Luke 1:42), or it could be a donor. Joseph sits behind the woman with his staff.

More of the Magi

Photographed at the museum by Richard Stracke, shared under Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike license.