Giuseppe Maria Crespi, known as Lo Spagnuolo
(Bologna 1665 – 1747)

The Adoration of the Magi

Oil on canvas, 150 x 110 cm (59 x 43 inches)


On his knees, the elderly Magus puts the golden pyx to his ear, as if to listen to a noise, a rattling, and to make sure everything is in order. This solemn moment is interrupted however by shouting, and the crowned Moor turns his head to listen to his servant. Even Joseph seems inattentive, speaking to someone outside the picture, behind his young wife. The darkness, beyond the edge of the stone block on which the base of a column rests, is pitch black.

Maybe this is the very painting recollected by Zanotti (Zanotti, G. P., Storia dell’Accademia Clementina (History of the Clementine Academy), Bologna 1739, II, p. 44): «He also did, for the Marquis Antonio Pepoli, a painting about the adoration of the Magi; very beautiful .» Or maybe not; some less successful parts suggest intervention by members of his large family.