(b. 1445, Firenze, d. 1510, Firenze)
Adoration of the Magi1465-67
Tempera on panel, 50 x 136 cm
National Gallery, London
This painting is one of the first original works (and the earliest biblical history painting) by Botticelli, done during the last years of his five-year apprenticeship under Fra Filippo Lippi. A certain compositional weakness is still visible in the arrangement and positioning of the numerous figures.
The Three Kings' magnificent retinue has reached the stable in Bethlehem. The eldest king is kneeling humbly in front of the child. The panel painting's unusual dimensions created difficulties for the young painter. When compared to the crowded group of figures on the left, the right side seems strangely empty.