Adoration of the Magi - Sandro Botticelli
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Adoration of the Magi - Botticelli

Regular price $ 60.00 $ 0.00

Stretched (Framed ¾”) Canvas Giclée Prints
12 x 16 inches: $60.00
16 x 20 inches: $80.00
20 x 24 inches: $100.00

24 x 30 inches: $130.00
30 x 36 inches $190.00
36 x 42 inches $215.00

Non-Stretched 2" (No Frame) Canvas Giclée Print
40 x 48 inches $175.00
44 x 56 inches $220.00

Original measures 44 x 53 inches. Sizes selected to maintain proportions of the original but other sizes are available on request. FREE SHIPPING IN U.S.

There are few works of art that capture the spirit of the Renaissance as well as the Adoration of the Magi (1475) by Sandro Botticelli does. The work is a technical masterpiece but it is also a record of social and political life in 15th century Florence, the birthplace of the Renaissance.

The work is essentially Florentine. Botticelli was born and died in Florence. And the painting is an unabashed tribute to the Medici who ruled in Florence and Tuscany for four centuries. The models for the Magi, alternatively known as the Three Wise Men or the Three Kings, are Cosimo and his two sons Piero and Giovanni. Cosimo, the patriarch of the family is the old man who kneels before the Virgin. He had died in 1464. His son, Piero the Gouty, in the red cloak, had died in 1469 and Giovanni, in the white mantle trimmed with gold, had died, earlier, in 1463. But very much alive are his two legitimate grandsons, sired by Piero. Lorenzo the Magnificent is the confident young man on the left next to the horse with hands on his sword. And the man who stands in the foreground on the right wearing black and red is Giuliano.

The score of figures includes an assortment of Medici supporters and allies and two important beneficiaries. The first is Guasparre di Zanobi Lama o del Lama, a banker who had prospered from money changing. He commissioned the work to hang in a niche of his private chapel in the church of Santa Maria Novella. Of the row of figures standing on the right against the ruined wall, he is the one, in a blue robe and white gloves, looking at the viewer. The second personality is Botticelli himself, also looking at us, wearing a yellow cloak.

The Adoration is not only regarded as a masterpiece today but caused quite a sensation after its completion five and a half centuries ago. Giorgio Vasari, the 16th century painter, architect and art historian tells us that the work brought Botticelli such notice that Pope Sixtus IV gave him the job of decorating the chapel of his palace in Rome. In his Lives of the Most Excellent Painters, Sculptors, and Architects, from Cimabue to Our Times, Vasari gushes over the Adoration saying at one point ‘certainly a remarkable piece of work’ and at another ‘a marvelous painting which today amazes every artist by its colouring, its design, and its composition’.

The journey of the Three Kings to pay obeisance to the infant Jesus is an integral part of the Christmas story. It was a frequent subject of art. Botticelli himself painted five Adorations. The event was celebrated in Florence, since medieval times, by the Feast of Epiphany. Its traditions were preserved by the Compagnia dei Magi who congregated at the Monastery of San Marco. The members of the Compagnia comprised Florence’s elite. Every five years, a procession of magnificent display would make its way through the streets of Florence to commemorate the journey of the Three Wise Men. It started at the Monastery of San Marco, made a stop near the Baptistery of St. John or the Piazza della Signore where a temporary 'Kingdom of Herod' would be constructed then continued to the crèche and back to San Marco.

The Compagnia played a central role in Florentine society. And the Medici, always cognizant of the importance of such political instruments, soon wielded great influence in its councils. For the Medici, the festival was an opportunity to show off, to display their wealth and preeminence. Undoubtedly, they would have been immensely thrilled by del Lama’s tribute. As Silvia Malaguzzi suggests in Botticelli (2004), the Medici saw themselves, like the Three Kings, not only as temporal rulers but as guardians, on earth, of the spiritual realm.

Title: Adorazione dei Magi (Adoration of the Magi, 1475)
Artist: Sandro Botticelli (1445 – 1510)
Framework: Tempera on wood panel
Dimensions: 111 x 134 cm (44 x 53 inches)
Location: Uffizi Gallery, Florence, Italy