Adoration of the Magi

Adoration of the Magi
Artist Sandro Botticelli
Year c. 1475-1476
Medium Tempera on panel
Location Uffizi of Florence, Italy
Dimensions 44 in × 53 in
111 cm × 134 cm
Famous Paintings by Botticelli
Fortitude
Adoration of the Magi
The Birth of Venus
Primavera
Cestello Annunciation
Saint Augustine
Venus and Mars
The Mystical Nativity
Temptations of Christ
Complete Works

The Adoration of the Magi is Sandro Botticelli’s depiction of a famous scene, where the three Magi, or kings, bring gifts of gold, frankincense, and myrrh to lay before a baby Jesus. This was a popular theme among Renaissance painters, and Botticelli’s version dates back to around 1475.

History

This painting by Botticelli was commissioned by an Italian banker, Gaspare di Zanobi del Lama. He wanted the painting for a chapel located in Florence. The chapel where the Adoration of the Magi once rested is now destroyed, and the painting is now in the Uffizi, a famous art museum in Florence.

Analysis

In Botticelli’s depiction of the Adoration of the Magi, there are a number of individuals surrounding the makeshift structure where Christ rests. The crumbling edifice surrounding Christ indicates Jesus’ humble roots, and creates a poignant contrast when placed next to the rich robes worn by those surrounding the makeshift altar.

The figures surrounding Christ are thought to be based on people in the Medici family, as di Zanobi del Lama was affiliated with the House of Medici. Cosimo de’Medici and his sons Piero and Giovanni are found in the painting, along with Cosimo’s grandsons Lorenzo and Giuliano. The Medici are thus depicted as the Magi.

All of the figures in the scene have different poses, expressions, and characters, making the painting a very diverse array of colors and imagery. It is also thought that Botticelli worked a self-portrait into the scene; he is presumed to be the blonde-haired man to the far right. The painting is well-known for its meticulous attention to detail. It is thought to have been influenced by the Flemish school, which Botticelli had been studying at the time of his career when he painted it. The Adoration of the Magi was a distinguishing moment in Botticelli’s career.

One Response to “Adoration of the Magi”

  1. minnie says:

    this painting is a good representation of the italian renaissance. it is full of rich smooth colors that make the painting look like a depiction of the era.

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