The Adoration of the Magi

13th century
Apse of Santa Maria Maggiore, Rome

As in the earliest images of this episode, Mary sits on a throne with the child on her lap while the magi approach in a horizontal row offering their gifts. Less ancient are the cross on the child's halo and the distribution of the magi across the three ages of man. In later images, their crowns will have been placed on the ground in recognition of the divinity of the child.

Unusually, the magi have been led to the child not by a star, as in Matthew 2:9, but by an angel.

View the main image of the apse mosaic.
Read more about the Magi.

Photographed at the basilica by Richard Stracke, shared under Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike license.