Information from the museum, 2 March 2015
Three paintings of the Magi—or wise men—by the Flemish master Peter Paul Rubens will be reunited at the National Gallery of Art for the first time in more than 130 years. Rubens painted these bust-length biblical figures around 1618 for his close childhood friend Balthasar Moretus, who was head of the prestigious Plantin Press, the largest press in Europe at the time. Balthasar and his two brothers, Gaspar and Melchior, were named after the Three Magi, thus these works had special personal meaning for the patron. The paintings are now owned by three different institutions: the middle-aged king from the Gallery’s collection will be joined by the young king from the Museum Plantin-Moretus in Antwerp, Belgium, and the old king from the Museo de Arte de Ponce, Puerto Rico.