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Filippino Lippi, The Adoration of the Kings

Key facts
Full title The Adoration of the Kings
Artist Filippino Lippi
Artist dates about 1457 - 1504
Date made about 1480
Medium and support Oil with some egg tempera on wood
Dimensions 57.5 × 85.7 cm
Acquisition credit Bought, 1882
Inventory number NG1124
Location Gallery D
Collection Main Collection
Previous owners
The Adoration of the Kings
Filippino Lippi

A ruinous chapel-like building stands in a rocky landscape. The Virgin Mary sits on the remains of a wall and presents the Christ Child to the Three Kings, who, together with their retinue, are gathered around her to present their gifts. The Gospel of Matthew tells the story of the Adoration of the Kings, but does not account for the figures in the background here: Saints Mary Magdalene, Bernard of Clairvaux, Jerome and Augustine, as well as the Archangel Raphael and Tobias. They may have been inserted at the request of the patron.

It is likely that the painting was made for the wealthy Florentine merchant Francesco del Pugliese, whose testament refers to a painting of an Adoration of the Kings by Filippino Lippi. It would have been in a family chapel in the village of Sommaia, in the mountainous area north-west of Florence, the landscape of which is not unlike that of the painting.

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