Veronese’s Adoration of the Magi in Milan for Christmas

30 Oct-20 Jan. Renaissance masterpiece on loan in Milan.

The Adoration of the Magi by Paolo Caliari – better known as the Veronese – is on view in Milan’s diocesan museum, in Lombardy for the first time in centuries.

The huge altarpiece, measuring 3.20 by 2.34 metres, was completed between 1573 and 1575 on commission by Marcantonio Cagoli or Cogollo, traditionally believed to be the subject for the bearded person standing behind the black king at the left. It was hung in the Sacra Spina chapel in Vicenza.

The three kings are dressed in sumptuous costumes, reflecting the profession of Cogollo, a rich textile trader.

The painting was brought to Milan during the Napoleonic period, but later returned to Vicenza, where it is now usually visible in the S. Corona church.  Veronese’s preliminary sketch is on display at the Louvre in Paris.

The choice of this museum for the exhibit is no coincidence: the remains of the three kings are kept in the basilica there, traditionally believed to have been given in the 4th century by the emperor of Constantinople to S. Eustorgio, at that time bishop of Milan. The reliquary will be on display during the exhibit, along with the sarcophagus in which the remains are believed to have been transported from Constantinople.

The timetable for guided visits for adults, and separately for families with children, is available on the Sant’Eustorgio website.

The diocesan museum is part of the S. Eustorgio cloisters complex in Piazza S. Eustorgio, near Porta Ticinese. It is open from 10.00 to 18.00 Tuesdays to Sundays (except for public holidays). Entry fee is €8 full or €6 for under-18s and other categories.