Gentile da Fabriano: The Adoration of the Magi (1423)

(Uffizi Gallery, Florence, Italy)

This beautiful altarpiece is the most famous work of the Italian painter Gentile da Fabriano (c.1370-1427). The work was commissioned by Palla Strozzi, a banker, politician and writer from Florence, for a chapel in the church of Santa Trinita in Florence. The entire work is an excellent example of the so-called 'International Gothic' style. All the figures wear Renaissance costumes with brocades which are richly decorated with real gold and precious stones. The scene depicts the path of the three Magi which starts at the upper left corner (the meeting of the three magi, the voyage and the entrance into Bethlehem to the meeting with the Virgin Mary and the newborn Jesus. Notice also the three paintings below the central piece (the 'predella'). These three show scenes of Jesus' childhood: the Nativity, the Flight into Egypt and the Presentation at the Temple. Above the central; piece are 3 cicles (called tondoes). The central tondo shows Christ Blessing while the left and right is the Annunciation (Archangel Gabriel on the left and Maria on the right). Painting from 1423.