Artist: Joseph Christian Leyendecker
Medium: Printed Magazine Cover
Size: 103 x 80 cm
Location: From “Saturday Evening Post” magazine, Curtis Publishing Co.
Matthew 2:11: The Wise Men went to the house. There they saw the child with his mother Mary. They bowed down and worshiped him. Then they opened their treasures. They gave him gold, incense and myrrh.
That the Magi offer Jesus both homage and standard gifts from the East fits Eastern practices; for instance, royal courts there used frankincense and myrrh (though these spices also had many other uses). The Magi's homage to Jesus may reflect biblical language alluding to the pilgrimage and homage of nations in Psalm 72:10 or Isaiah 60:6. Regardless, this homage reinforces the point of the narrative: if God's people will not honor Jesus, former pagans will.
Joseph Christian Leyendecker (March, 1874 – July, 1951) was one of the pre-eminent American illustrators of the early 20th century. He is best known for his poster, book, and advertising illustrations, the trade character known as The Arrow Collar Man, and his numerous covers for the Saturday Evening Post. During ‘The Golden Age of American Illustration’, for the Saturday Evening Post alone, Leyendecker produced 322 covers, as well as many advertisement illustrations for its interior pages. His Easter, Independence Day, Thanksgiving and Christmas covers were annual events for the Post’s millions of readers. No other artist, until the arrival of Norman Rockwell two decades later, was so solidly identified with one publication. Leyendecker is credited as having virtually invented the whole idea of modern magazine design.