Botticelli’s Adoration of the Magi

Botticelli's Adoration of the Magi

Sandro Botticelli, Alessandro di Mariano di Vanni Filipepi, Adoration of the Magi, 1475-1476, Florence

I looked at this piece, watched the video on describing a painting, and then researched critiques of Botticelli’s Adoration of the Magi.  At first look of this work, I saw the religious meaning of the birth of Jesus, the North Star above, the magi offering gifts and the people in attendance, some faithfully kneeling, some seemingly irreverent, looking away.  It would seem as if the people in attendance represent all people and their attitudes toward faith.  Some are indifferent, some are sinners, and some seem completely faithful.  I felt that the plants coming through the stone walls had some meaning but did not know what. After reading the critiques, I find that this work was commissioned by Guaspare del Lama, who was associated with the Medici family (Rymer).  Also, that five Medici family members are featured in the painting including Cosimo, who was the father, the original Medici patron of arts, who was dead at the time of this painting.  The Medici family was huge supporters of Botticelli (Rymer).  The plants mean rebirth and the immortality of Christ (Rymer).  The people in the audience were close friends of the Medici including Botticelli himself and it does seem that the theme is less religious and more the artist allying himself with a powerful family (PBS), the same as the patron, a tax collector lining himself with the Medici family.  It is much more appealing after reading other critiques and looking at it from different perspectives.  I like knowing the history behind the artist, the commissioner, the Medici family and the political and religious climate of the times.  It made looking at this work much more personal and interesting.

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