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Sandro Botticelli and Filippino Lippi, Adoration of the Kings

Key facts
Full title Adoration of the Kings
Artist Sandro Botticelli and Filippino Lippi
Artist dates about 1445 - 1510; about 1457 - 1504
Date made about 1470
Medium and support Tempera on wood
Dimensions 50.2 × 135.9 cm
Acquisition credit Bought, 1857
Inventory number NG592
Location Gallery D
Collection Main Collection
Adoration of the Kings
Sandro Botticelli and Filippino Lippi

Images showing the Adoration of the Kings were particularly important in Florence, where the citizens celebrated Epiphany – the feast which commemorated the event – with costumed parades. The shape and scale of this picture suggest that it was made as part of a piece of furniture.

The vast entourage of the kings, including horses in decorated harnesses, is separated from the area occupied by the holy family (Christ, the Virgin Mary and Saint Joseph) by a wall with only a narrow opening. Two of the kings kneel in front of Christ; the one at the front is about to kiss his foot in homage.

Both Botticelli and Filippino worked on this picture. Botticelli was responsible for the large crowd to the left of the painting while Filippino’s starker, more elongated style of figure painting is seen in the group in the central foreground, which includes a kneeling man and the slightly bowing figure adjusting his right sleeve.

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