Botticelli’s Uffizi Adoration… not before 1480

Adoration of the Magi by Sandro Botticelli (1475-76), Uffizi, Florence

This version of the Adoration of the Magi is by the Italian Renaissance master Sandro Botticelli. The work is on display at the Uffizi in Florence and is said to date from 1475 or 1476. It is also claimed that the painting was commissioned by Gaspare di Zanobi del Lama for his funerary chapel in Santa Maria Novella, Florence.

Botticelli produced several paintings on this theme, some say as many as eight. This version depicts several members of the Medici family, notably Cosimo de’ Medici, the Italian banker and politician, in the guise of the Magus kneeling in front of the Virgin Mary and Child Jesus.

Although there are varied opinions as to the identities of the other Medici figures, most art historians tend to agree that the painter, Sandro Botticelli, is the standing figure on the right of the frame, wearing the ochre gown and looking out to the viewer.

The painting’s date attribution of 1475 or 1476 is not accurate. The earliest the painting could have been completed is 1480, and perhaps even a year later. The scene is linked to an historical event, and also to two early works by a contemporary of Botticelli, Leonardo da Vinci.

My next post will reveal the iconography that redates the painting and its connection to Leonardo.

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