Adoration of the Magi

Adoration of the Magi

circa 1760
Marcos Zapata, circa 1710-1773
Work Locations: Cuzco, Peru
Cipriano Toledo y Gutiérrez, Peruvian
Work Locations: Cuzco, Peru
Active Years: 1762-1775
Cuzco School Peruvian Colonial
Oil paint and gold on canvas
Accession Number
Credit Line
Gift of Mr. and Mrs. Frank Barrows Freyer II for Frank Barrows Freyer Collection

Marcos Zapata and his workshop, Adoration of the Magi, about 1760. Oil paint and gold leaf on canvas; 74 × 49⅝ in. Gift of Mr. and Mrs. Frank Barrows Freyer II for Frank Barrows Freyer Collection at the Denver Art Museum, 1969.347.

height: 74 in, 187.9600 cm; width: 49.625 in, 126.0475 cm; frame height: 77.5 in, 196.8500 cm; frame width: 53.5 in, 135.8900 cm
Mayer Center, Latin American Art
Latin American Art
This object is currently on view

Marcos Zapata (1710-1773) was an Indigenous painter who was born and worked in Cuzco, Peru. Cipriano Toledo y Gutiérrez (active 1762-1775) was a mestizo (Spanish father, Indigenous mother) artist who was trained in Zapata's workshop with whom he collaborated. This oil on canvas Adoration of the Magi is attributed to these painters who worked from a European print source, as was common artistic practice, to paint the subject matter, composition, and Christian symbolism. Joseph at far left holds a stalk of lilies while Mary presents the baby Jesus to the three kings on the right.
     While at first glance this might look to be a European style religious painting there are some elements that make it uniquely Peruvian. The extraordinary use of gold stamping to create the pattern on the cloth is exclusive to Cuzco and the surrounding highland areas, including Bolivia. Also, the "camels" in the background look more like llamas or alpacas. Although Lima became the political capital of colonial Peru, Cuzco remained its artistic capital, as it had been in Inca times.
--Julie Wilson Frick & Donna Pierce, 2015

Known Provenance
Collected in Peru in the 1920s by Mrs. Maria Engracia Critcher Freyer [1888-1969] and Mr. Frank Barrows Freyer [1878-1947], Denver and Washington, DC; inherited 1969 by Mr. Frank Barrows Freyer II [1916-1981]; gifted 24 October 1969 by Mr. Frank Barrows Freyer II [1916-1981] and Mrs. Anne Evans Freyer Sweeney [1917-2012] to the Denver Art Museum. Provenance research is on-going at the Denver Art Museum. Please e-mail, if you have questions, or if you have additional information to share with us.
Exhibition History
  • Los Angeles Museum of History, Science, and Art, September - October 1926
  • "Decorative Arts of Spain and Spanish America," Toledo Museum of Art, November 2-30, 1930
  • "Paintings & Decorative Art of XVI and XVII-Century Peru Collected by Mrs. Frank Freyer," Brooklyn Museum of Art, December 20, 1930 - September 30, 1931
  • Catholic University of America, Washington D.C., 1931-1939
  • "Loan Exhibition of Latin American and Pre-Columbian Art, "Institute of Latin American Studies, University of Michigan, July 7-25, 1939
  • "Three Southern Neighbors - Ecuador, Peru, Bolivia," Newark Museum, April 14-December 31, 1942
  • "The Frank Barrows Freyer Collection of Spanish-Peruvian Paintings," Lowe Art Gallery, University of Miami, November 14, 1961-January 28, 1962
  • "Treasures from Peru: Spanish Colonial Paintings from the School of Cuzco," Columbus Gallery of Fine Arts, 1967
  • "The Frank Barrows Freyer Collection of Spanish Peruvian Paintings in the Denver Art Museum," The High Museum of Art, December 7-29, 1969.