Adoration of the Magi of 1475 (Botticelli)

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Adoration of the Magi
Botticelli - Adoration of the Magi (Zanobi Altar) - Uffizi.jpg
Artist Sandro Botticelli
Year c. 1475–1476
Type Tempera on panel
Dimensions 111 cm × 134 cm (44 in × 53 in)
Location Uffizi, Florence

The Adoration of the Magi is a painting by the Italian Renaissance master Sandro Botticelli, dating from 1475 or 1476. It is housed in the Uffizi of Florence. Botticelli was commissioned to paint at least seven versions of The Adoration of the Magi.[1]



In the scene numerous characters are present, among which are several members of the Medici family: Cosimo de' Medici (the Magus kneeling in front of the Virgin, described by Vasari as "the finest of all that are now extant for its life and vigour"), his sons Piero (the second Magus kneeling in the centre with the red mantle) and Giovanni (the third Magus), and his grandsons Giuliano and Lorenzo. The three Medici portrayed as Magi were all dead at the time the picture was painted, and Florence was effectively ruled by Lorenzo.

Whether Botticelli's intimate relations wit the Medici brothers allowed the wealthy Gaspare to introduce the portraits of their kinsmen in his altar-piece, or whether Gaspare was glad of this opportunity to pay a graceful compliment to these powerful personages is hard to tell; but it is plain, from the pains which the painter bestowed on these figures, that this formed an important part of the task.

Also Gaspare himself is said to be included in the painting, as the old man on the right with white hair and an alight blue robe looking and pointing at the observer. Furthermore, also Botticelli is alleged to have made a self-portrait as the blond man with yellow mantle on the far right.


In his Lives Vasari describes the Adoration in the following way:

"The beauty of the heads in this scene is indescribable, their attitudes all different, some full-face, some in profile, some three-quarters, some bent down, and in various other ways, while the expressions of the attendants, both young and old, are greatly varied, displaying the artist's perfect mastery of his profession. Sandro further clearly shows the distinction between the suites of each of the kings. It is a marvellous work in colour, design and composition."[citation needed]

The attention to details, such as the garments rendering, show the acquisition by the Florentine artist of the influences from the Flemish school at this point of his career.

See also


  1. "Adoration of the Magi". Mountain West Digital Library. Utah Academic Library Consortium. Retrieved 15 May 2013.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>


  • Zöllner, Frank (2005). Sandro Botticelli. Prestel-Verlag. ISBN 3791332732.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  • Page at (Italian)