Sandro Botticelli: The Adoration of the Magi (1476)

(The Uffizi Gallery, Florence, Italy)

A painting by the Italian artist Sandro Botticelli (1445-1510). Botticelli painted at least 7 versions of the adoration, this one is well known for the people in the foreground:  the faces of these people are modeled after members of the powerful Medici family (Botticelli was a patron of the Medici) and their allies. Present on the painting:

- Cosimo de' Medici (1389 – 1464): the kneeling magus in front of Mary)
- Piero di Cosimo de' Medici (1416 – 1469): the kneeling magus with red mantle
- Giovanni di Cosimo de' Medici (1421 - 1463): the third magus with white cloak
- Gaspare di Zanobi del Lama: the donor of the painting. Het is standing in the right group dressed in blue with white hair. He is looking at the viewer
- Giuliano de' Medici (1453 – 1478): dressed in black and red. He is standing in the right group
- Lorenzo de' Medici (1449 – 1492): dressed in red , he is the most left standing man in the left group
- Giovanni Pico della Mirandola: third standing man in the left group with red hat
- Agnolo Poliziano (1454-1494): second man in the left group with his hands around the shoulders of Lorenzo
- Filippo Strozzi (1489 - 1538)
- Lorenzo Tornabuoni (1465 -1497): in the right group with hat and feather
- John Argyropoulos (1416 - 1487): the bearded man in the right group

Sandro Botticelli has also included himself in the painting: he is the standing man with orange cloak in the right group and looking at the viewer. The peacock in the ruins is a symbol immortality. The ruins in which the nativity is taking place represents the decline of the ancient world and paganism while nativity and the richly dressed group in the foreground represents the present and the future of the world.

 

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