(b. ca. 1410, Venezia ?, d. 1461, Firenze ?)

Adoration of the Magi

Wood, diameter 84 cm
Staatliche Museen, Berlin

Domenico returned to Florence from Perugia in 1439 and began to work on the frescoes of stories from the life of the Virgin in the church of Sant'Egidio inside the Hospital of Santa Maria Nuova. (The frescoes were destroyed in the 18th century.) The roundel of the Adoration of the Magi was probably painted during one of the intervals in the work on Sant'Egidio.

This tondo shows very clearly to what extent Domenico had learnt the lesson of Gentile da Fabriano. In a similar way to the Strozzi Altarpiece, the traditional subject is depicted as a chivalric or courtly scene, crowded with characters wearing rich and elegant costumes, all described down to the smallest details. This detailed description, which is evident in the landscape as well, and the presence of hunting motifs are the result of the influence northern painting exerted on Domenico, especially through the works of Pisanello. And yet, some formal and compositional elements, such as the sculptural quality of the figures, their solidity and weight, and the accurate use of perspective, clearly prove that this painting is a work of the Renaissance. The Berlin tondo is one of the works that demonstrates most clearly the fundamental influences on Domenico's art.

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