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The Adoration of the Kings
Sandro Botticelli
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Botticelli painted at least six scenes of the Adoration of the Kings. This, one of his most expansive and ambitious, is painted in a circular format called a tondo. The figures and animals in the outer circle face inwards to pay respect to the Christ Child, inviting the viewer to do the same. Botticelli has raised the Virgin and Child upon a natural rocky platform, ensuring the viewer looks up towards them in reverence.

A makeshift roof has been inserted within the central arch so that it doubles as the humble stable where Christ was born. Crumbling classical architecture was a common feature in religious paintings in the Renaissance period, symbolising how Christianity had surpassed pagan religion and culture.

The picture may have belonged to the Pucci, a Florentine family. It might have been a tribute to the ruling Medici family, who identified strongly with the kings and owned two very large and elaborate paintings of the subject themselves.

Key facts
Artist Sandro Botticelli
Artist dates about 1445 - 1510
Full title The Adoration of the Kings
Date made about 1470-5
Medium and support Tempera on poplar
Dimensions 130.8 x 130.8 cm
Acquisition credit Bought, 1878
Inventory number NG1033
Location in Gallery Room 58
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