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Adoration of the Magi 1481-82 - Leonardo Da Vinci

Adoration of the Magi 1481-82 - Leonardo Da Vinci

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Unique quality material

Print on handmade paper from Amalfi
Measurement : 29 x 42 cm
Material : work printed on very fine handmade Amalfi paper with fringed edges
Frame : Handmade light brown beech wood


The work

Adoration of the Magi 1481-82
Charcoal, watercolour, ink and oil on panel, 244 x 240 cm
Uffizi Gallery, Florence
Since early Christian times, January 6 was celebrated as the feast of the Epiphany, the appearance of God among men in the form of Jesus Christ. Humanity is represented by the Three Kings, who pay homage to the Messiah. Simultaneously with his appearance, the fall of the pagan world began.

Leonardo seems to have depicted this moment, so dramatic in the history of humanity, in his painting. It remained unfinished because Leonardo left Florence and moved to Milan, although we do not know why. Chemical reactions and dirt now make this fascinating panel difficult to read in detail. With this painting Leonardo declares his independence from Verrocchio, emerging with a fresh and personal style.

Although unfinished, this painting is much more innovative than his previous works. The composition is built around a central, pyramidal group of figures and, most significantly, Leonardo here incorporates light and shadow into the underlying design of this painting. Although the panel remained unfinished, the Adoration of the Magi, with its main group composed symmetrically and different from the traditional linear composition, is today considered one of the most progressive works of Florentine painting.

It implements the demands that Alberti made on history paintings in a way that no other work of its era does. All figures are involved in the events depicted in the photo. The illustrious kings display their emotions in a more dignified manner than the figures accompanying them, and the overall number of participants is kept in moderation.

The figures are grouped in a circle around Mary and express, with more or less vigorous gestures, their emotion at the first manifestation of the divinity of the Christ Child. The painting also differs from the traditional way of representing the Adoration in Florence due to the enigmatic scenes in the background, the equestrian battles and an unfinished staircase.

This has led to the assumption that the Augustinian convent of San Donato a Scopeto, which commissioned the painting, wanted to use this pictorial composition to convey its own theological interpretation of the theme of Adoration.
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