© President and Fellows of Harvard College
Gallery Text

Cosmè Tura was an official court painter to the ruling Este family and its circle in Ferrara. Although this work appears to be an independent circular panel (or tondo), several factors suggest otherwise. First, the painting is smaller than most late fifteenth-century tondos and commemorative birth salvers. Second, it is closely linked to two identically shaped paintings — the Circumcision and the Flight into Egypt — which probably once belonged to a larger pictorial ensemble. Some scholars have suggested that all were part of a predella (lower register) narrative for the artist’s Roverella Altarpiece, commissioned for the church of San Giorgio in Ferrara, but the images do not correspond with an early description of that work.

Identification and Creation
Object Number
1905.14
People
Cosmè Tura, Italian (c. 1430 - 1495)
Title
The Adoration of the Magi
Other Titles
Former Title: Adoration of the Kings
Classification
Paintings
Work Type
painting
Date
c. 1480
Places
Creation Place: Europe, Italy, Emilia, Ferrara
Culture
Italian
Location
Level 2, Room 2500, European Art, 13th–16th century, Art and Image in Europe
View this object's location on our interactive map
Physical Descriptions
Medium
Tempera on panel
Dimensions
38.7 x 38.4 cm (15 1/4 x 15 1/8 in.)
framed: 50 x 48.9 x 5.3 cm (19 11/16 x 19 1/4 x 2 1/16 in.)
Inscriptions and Marks
  • label: back of frame, paper, printed
Provenance
Prince Antonio Rubblicola Santacroce, Rome, by 1892; to Contessa di Santa Fiora, Rome, 1894 until at least 1897 [1]. Mrs. Edward M. Cary, gift; to Fogg Art Museum, 1905

Notes
[1] Listed as part of the Contessa's collection in the 1897 text "L'Art Ferrarais: A l'Époque des Princes d'Este" by Gustave Gruyer. Listed as part of the collection of the Comtesse de Santa Fiore in the 1905 "La Peinture en Europe..." by Richtenberger and Lafenestre
Acquisition and Rights
Credit Line
Harvard Art Museums/Fogg Museum, Gift of Mrs. Edward M. Cary
Accession Year
1905
Object Number
1905.14
Division
European and American Art
Contact
am_europeanamerican@harvard.edu
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Descriptions
Description
Visible surface, tondo
Publication History

Gustave Gruyer, L'Art Ferrarais: A l'Époque des Princes d'Este, E. Plon et cie (PAris, 1897), pp.71, 82

Eugène Richtenberger and Georges Lafenestre, La Peinture en Europe: Rome, les musées, les collections particulières, les palais, Librairies-imprimeries réunies (Paris, 1905), p. 291, repr.

Joseph Breck, "Notizie Intorno al Dipinti Italiani nel Fogg Museum", Rassegna d'Arte (October 1909), pp. 169-172, pp. 169-170, repr. p. 170

Edward Waldo Forbes, "The William Hayes Fogg Art Museum of Harvard University", Museum of Fine Arts Bulletin, Museum of Fine Arts, Boston (Boston, June 1909), p. 26, repr.

William N. Bates, "Archaeological News", American Journal of Archaeology (January - March 1910), Vol. 14, No. 1, pp. 95-141, p. 137

Edmund G. Gardner, The Painters of the School of Ferrara, Duckworth & Co. (London, 1911), p. 208, under note 1

J. A. Crowe and G. B. Cavalcaselle, A History of Painting in North Italy, ed. Tancred Borenius, Charles Scribner & Sons (New York, 1912), Vol. II, p. 230, under note 1

Morton Bernath, New York und Boston, E.A. Seemann Verlag (Leipzig, 1912), pp. 74-75

R. H. Benson, Catalogue of Italian Pictures at 16, South Street, Park Lane, London and Buckhurst in Sussex Collected by Robert and Evelyn Benson, Chiswick Press (London, 1914), p. 105, under cat. no. 55

Collection of Mediaeval and Renaissance Paintings, Fogg Art Museum (Cambridge, Massachusetts, 1919), pp. 188-192, no. 37 (as "Adoration of the Kings")

"[Review] The Metropolitan Musem: Co-operation of Collectors Assures Complete Exhibition of Italian Renaissance", Antiquarian (September 1923), pp. 13, 25-26, repr. p. 13

Joseph Breck, "Loan Exhibition of the Arts of the Italian Renaissance", Bulletin of the Metropolitan Museum of Art, The Metropolitan Museum of Art (New York, May 1923), pp. 107-114, pp. 108-109, repr. p. 109

The Metropolitan Museum of Art, Loan Exhibition of the Arts of the Italian Renaissance, exh. cat. (New York, 1923), p. 10, cat. no. 28, repr.

Ella S. Siple, "The Fogg Museum of Art at Harvard", The Burlington Magazine (June 1927), vol. 50, no. 291, pp. 309-17, p. 309

[unidentified article], The New York Times (New York, April 21, 1929), repr.

Fogg Art Museum Handbook, Fogg Art Museum (Cambridge, MA, 1931), p. 53, repr.

Philip Hendy, The Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum: Catalogue of the Exhibited Paintings and Drawings, Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum (Boston, MA, 1931), p. 382

Roberto Longhi, Officina Ferrarese, Edizioni d'Italia (Rome, Italy, 1934), pp. 37-39, repr. p. 44, 160-161

Fogg Art Museum Handbook, Fogg Art Museum (Cambridge, MA, 1936), p. 79, repr.

Jules S. Bache, A Catalogue of Paintings in the Bache Collection, William Bradford Press (New York, 1937), p. 18

Alan Burroughs, Art Criticism from a Laboratory, Little, Brown (Boston, 1938), p. 51

Hans Tietze, ed., Masterpieces of European Painting in America (London, England, 1939), p. 310, no. 49

Mario Salmi, Cosmè Tura, Electa Editrice (Milan, 1957), p. 35, repr. as tav. XXI

Eberhard Ruhmer, Tura: Paintings and Drawings, Complete Edition, Phaidon Press (London, 1958), pp. 41, 83, repr. as pl. 62

Edward Waldo Forbes, Yankee Visionary, Fogg Art Museum (Cambridge, MA, 1971), p. 24, repr. in b/w p. 25

Maurice Grosser, Painter's Progress, C. N. Potter (New York, NY, 1971), pp.35-37, repr. p. 37 as fig. 11

Burton B. Fredericksen and Federico Zeri, Census of Pre-Nineteenth-Century Italian Paintings in North American Public Collections, Harvard University Press (Cambridge, MA, 1972), p. 205

Andrea Kirsh, "Worlds Below: An Investigation of Infrared Reflectography" (thesis (certificate in conservation), Straus Center for Conservation and Technical Studies, April 1973), Unpublished, pp. 1-25 passim

Philip Hendy, European and American Paintings in the Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum, Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum (Boston, 1974), p. 264

Rosemarie Molajoli, L'Opera Completa di Cosmè Tura e i Grandi Pittori Ferraresi del suo Tempo: Francesco Cossa e Ercole de'Roberti, Rizzoli Editore (Milan, 1974), p. 86, no 13, repr. as tav. XVIII

David Kolch, "Reconstruction System for Panel Painting Supports: A Review and Evaluation of Treatments in the Fogg Museum Laboratory, 1927-1952" (thesis (certificate in conservation), Straus Center for Conservation and Technical Studies , August 1977), Unpublished, pp. 1-60 passim

Everett Fahy, Italian Paintings at Fenway Court and Elsewhere, Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum (Boston, 1978), pp. 38-39, repr. p. 39

Keith Christiansen, "Early Renaissance Narrative Painting in Italy", The Metropolitan Museum of Art Bulletin, The Metropolitan Museum of Art (New York, Fall 1983), p. 36, repr. as fig. 31

Kristin A. Mortimer and William G. Klingelhofer, Harvard University Art Museums: A Guide to the Collections, Harvard University Art Museums and Abbeville Press (Cambridge and New York, 1986), no. 171, p. 152, repr.

Edgar Peters Bowron, European Paintings Before 1900 in the Fogg Art Museum: A Summary Catalogue including Paintings in the Busch-Reisinger Museum, Harvard University Art Museums (Cambridge, MA, 1990), pp. 132, 314, repr. b/w cat. no. 613

Stephen J. Campbell, Cosmè Tura of Ferrara: Style, Politics and the Renaissance City, 1450-1495, Yale University Press (New Haven, CT, 1998), repr., fig. 90

Monica Molteni, Cosmè Tura, F. Motta (Milan, Italy, 1999), p. 123, repr.

Stephen J. Campbell, Cosmè Tura: Painting and Design in Renaissance Ferrara, exh. cat., ed. Alan Chong, Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum (Boston, MA, 2001), no. 11, pp. 229, 269-272; repr. in color p. 230

Cosmè Tura, auct. cat., Giunti Editore (Florence, 2007), p. 31, repr.

Exhibition History

Loan Exhibition of Italian Primitive Paintings, Fogg Art Museum, 02/26/1915 - 03/18/1915

Loan Exhibition of the Arts of the Italian Renaissance, The Metropolitan Museum of Art, 05/08/1923 - 01/01/1923

Golden Gate International Exposition, California Palace of the Legion of Honor, 01/01/1939 - 01/01/1939

Edward Waldo Forbes: Yankee Visionary, Fogg Art Museum, 01/16/1971 - 02/22/1971

Master Paintings from the Fogg Collection, Fogg Art Museum, Cambridge, 04/13/1977 - 08/31/1977

Cosmè Tura: Painting and Design in Renaissance Ferrara, Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum, Boston, 01/30/2002 - 05/12/2002

HAA 10 Survey Course: The Western Tradition, Art Since the Renaissance, Harvard University Art Museums, Fogg Art Museum, Cambridge, 02/09/2008 - 03/02/2008

Re-View: S422-423 Western Art of the Middle Ages & Renaissance, Harvard Art Museums/Arthur M. Sackler Museum, Cambridge, 08/16/2008 - 06/18/2011

32Q: 2500 Renaissance, Harvard Art Museums, Cambridge, 11/01/2014

Subjects and Contexts

Google Art Project

Related Works

This record has been reviewed by the curatorial staff but may be incomplete. Our records are frequently revised and enhanced. For more information please contact the Division of European and American Art at am_europeanamerican@harvard.edu