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Artwork of the Week

Artwork of the Week: Nativity and Adoration of the Magi

Nativity and Adoration of the Magi
Russian Icon, 'Nativity and Adoration of the Magi,' c.1680, tempera on panel, 21 5/16 x 17 ¾ x 1 11/16 inches. Brigham Young University Museum of Art, gift of Richard B. and Nadene Oliver, 1975.

Iconic scenes such as this one were used by worshippers as a window into the spiritual world, allowing them to see and participate in the sacred events that are depicted. The Nativity scene is shown in the middle of the painting, with various stories from the life of Christ surrounding it. The Magi seek out Christ in the top left and deliver their gifts to Him in the bottom right. Heralding angels appear to a lone shepherd dressed in red in the top right corner of the composition, juxtaposed with St. Joseph being tempted to doubt Christ’s miraculous birth in the bottom left corner. Immediately to the left of the nativity scene is a depiction of the Savior being washed and cleansed as a child. This icon invites viewers to consider themselves as literal participants in the events surrounding Christ’s birth and rejoice alongside the Magi.

Guest author curatorial fellow: Spencer Anderson

Past Artworks of the Week

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Artwork of the Week: Right to the Jaw

April 15, 2024
Mahonri Mackintosh Young, the grandson of President Brigham Young, was born in Salt Lake City, Utah in 1877. Throughout his career, he created more than 320 sculptures
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Artwork of the Week: Christ Preaching (La Petite Tombe)

April 08, 2024
Rembrandt Van Rijn, born in 1606, remains one of the most significant artists of the Dutch Golden Age, celebrated for his depictions of the emotional and spiritual states of the human soul.
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Artwork of the Week: Duet for Single Musician

April 01, 2024
James C. Christensen was a celebrated American artist and illustrator. A BYU alum and former faculty member, he drew inspiration for his whimsical style from fairytales, legends, as well as his Christian beliefs.
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