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 king who is kneeling. One of them is an African, although with rather European facial features.

The man on the far right is most likely Mary's father, St. Joachim, whose attribute is a staff. The woman before him would thus be his wife, St. Anne.

Were it not for the three Magi one would call this a Madonna Enthroned sculpture. The child blesses the viewer from the lap of his mother, although he does not look at us. Mary is indeed highly favored in the composition. It is she who holds the orb (or orb-like fruit), she whom the angels are censing, and she who looks directly at the viewer.

Read more about the Magi and the Madonna and Child.

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