King Melchior Sailing to the Holy Land

A small fleet accompanies one of the three kings who, according to Christian tradition, brought gifts to the infant Jesus. King Melchior sits enthroned in the stern of a sailing ship, his robes and crown decorated with gold leaf. A fifteenth-century hunting party and two monks appear in the foreground, perhaps to make this scriptural scene more relevant to a fifteenth-century audience. The image ends abruptly on the left side; the panel was cut down at some point after it was removed from its original location.

Pesellino (Francesco di Stefano)

Italian, c. 1422–1457

King Melchior Sailing to the Holy Land

c. 1445–50

Tempera, oil, and gold on panel

25 5/8 x 27 1/2 in. (65.1 x 69.8 cm) Frame: 35 3/8 x 37 1/2 x 3 1/2 in. (89.9 x 95.3 x 8.9 cm)

Acquired by Sterling Clark, 1914