Botticelli ca. 1445 – 1510

The Adoration of the Magi

tempera on panel (111 × 134 cm) — 1475 Museum Galleria degli Uffizi, Florence

Botticelli biography

This work is linked to Matthew 2:11

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In this panel the Three Wise Men are actually three members of the De' Medici family, the clan that was in power in Florence. Kneeling before Mary is Cosimo the Elder. His sons are also shown kneeling: Piero is shown in a red gown, with his brother Giovanni to his right, in a light gown. All of them had already passed away when Botticelli got the commission. But two other members of the family were still alive: Giuliano, a son of Piero (standing next to Giovanni, dark gown), and Lorenzo il Magnifico, at the time the most powerful man of Florence and perhaps all of Italy. He leads the group to the right, dressed in a bright gown and wearing a hat.

The man to the right, looking at us, is thought to be Sandro Botticelli himself.

The painting was commissioned by banker Gaspare di Zanobi del Lama for his family chapel in Santa Maria Novella, a church in Florence. It was surmounted by a lunette depicting the Nativity.

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