This scene depicts one of the customs associated with the celebration of Epiphany, or Twelfth Night, which was the culmination of the Christmas season. On January 5th, the eve of Epiphany, processions took place that commemorated the journey of the three Wise Men to visit the Christ child in Bethlehem. A paper lantern, representing the star that guided the Magi, was carried through the streets, and groups went singing from door to door. The event was also associated with exorcisms, as the clamor was expected to frighten away evil spirits. This might explain the presence of the black cloaked and masked figure that carries a lantern and peers out from the right middle ground.
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- Titles Star of the Kings (Proper)
- Artist Attributed to, Hans Bollongier, Dutch, Haarlem about 1600 - about 1672-1675 Haarlem
- Medium oil on panel
- Dimensions 13 3/4 x 10 7/16 in. (34.9 x 26.5 cm) frame: 20 11/16 × 17 3/8 × 1 in. (52.6 × 44.1 × 2.5 cm)
- Credit Line Gift of Mr. and Mrs. Jelks H. Cabaniss, Jr., 1975.79
- Work Type painting
- Classification Paintings
- On View
- Signature Unsigned
- Inscription On verso, upper right, in black ink/paint: ". 6 ."; on verso, upper right, in black ink/paint: "I"; on verso, upper left, in red: "? [obscured by label] 2 / MD"; on verso, on left, faint stamp in red, reads perhaps as: "68" above "22" in circle; on verso, upper left, on white label: "BMA / 75.79"; on verso, a white label to the left of center from the dealer P. de Boer, Amsterdam with handwritten notations: "BMA 75.79 ... 14 / Hans Bollongier / Drie Koningen / pan 35,5 x 27 cm; on verso, lower left: stamp; inscription surrounding the image of a German "Imperial eagle": "EMMISHOFER T. KONSTANZ 32 ZOLL"
- Provenance With dealer P. de Boer [see note 1]; purchased by Jelks H. Cabaniss, Jr. in 1968; gift in 1975 to the Birmingham Museum of Art
1. This information confirmed by Niels de Boer in an email dated March 8, 2017, see object file. No further information exists as to where Piet de Boer may have purchased the painting.