Sandro Botticelli
Adoration of the Maji (Del Lama Adoration)

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Sandro Botticelli, Adoration of the Magi



111 X 134 cm

Florence, Galleria degli Uffizi

Adoration of the Magi

Also known as Del Lama Adoration

This work was painted for Guaspare del Lama to be the altarpiece for a funeral chapel in Santa Maria, Novella. Botticelli decided against using the traditional processional view of the nativity. Instead of showing the Magi and people surrounding him forming a line to enter the scene, he chose to have the people grouped around the Holy Family. Although the painting is showing a scene in history, Botticelli chose to use many actual Medici family members among the infant admirers. The Medici’s were one of Botticelli’s greatest financial supporters. The oldest Magi, the one holding the Child’s foot, is Cosimo de’ Medici. He holds the place of greatest distinction, both in the painting and in the powerful Medici family. There are four other important Medici family members that can be identified in this painting. Botticelli also included a self-portrait. The man on the right side of the painting wearing a yellow-orange gown and looking out of the picture is the image of Botticelli himself.

The Holy Family was placed in an area that contains broken walls or ruins of a structure that is falling down. New leaves are sprouting through that wall symbolizing the rebirth and immortality of Christ. Joseph, behind Mary and the Infant, is under the star of Bethlehem in the mourning pose referring to the crucifixion of Christ. The Holy Family sits higher than everyone else in the painting like a chapel altar showing that they are to be revered and honored. The top left corner of the painting shows arches in poor condition representing the fall of pre-Christian Rome. This painting is one that is very highly respected from an artistic standpoint. It has more artistic importance than religious importance because of the role the Medici family plays in the painting. The portraits done were very detailed and recognizable. The way that Botticelli handled the space of the painting and placement of the people, show the great talent the he had.




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