Monks at the monastery of San Donato in Scopeto commissioned this oil on wood panel from Leonardo da Vinci in 1481. It was, however, never completed by Leonardo, who left for Milan, leaving it unfinished at his friend Amerigo Benci’s house. As payment, Leonardo received 28 ducats, two donkeys loaded with faggot wood and a thicker type of wood, and a barrel of red wine.
An oil on wood panel by Filippino Lippi later substituted the San Donato altarpiece. Soon thereafter, Leonardo’s The Adoration of the Magi became part of the Medici family’s private collection, and then it was obtained by the Uffizi. Located in the same room as other Leonardo masterpieces such as The Annunciation, it is an important masterpiece despite being unfinished; actually, this state allows for observation of the great artist's working techniques.
The scene depicted is dynamic and articulate. The Virgin Mary and Child are in the foreground and form a triangular shape with the Magi, with charicature-like faces, kneeling in adoration below them. The position of the figures gives a circular sense and movement to the scene. Behind them, there is a diagonal created by two trees; one is a laurel tree symbolizing triumph, and the other is a date palm symbolizing martyrdom.
There are two scenes in the background. The one on the right depicts a horse fight with men being thrown off their horses and the horses that are reared up. This small scene represents the folly of Man that has not yet understood the Christian teachings. On the left, there is a pagan temple in ruins, which alludes to the fall of the Temple of Jerusalem.
According to some scholars, the young boy depicted on the far right-hand side of the composition could in fact be a self-portrait ofLeonardo. This painting was executed when Leonardo was very young, before he was considered by his contemporaries to be one the ‘greatest artists’ of the epoch.
An astonishing city of art, fashion and tradition
If you are visiting Tuscany you cannot miss Florence. The Renaissance city is a treasure trove of art with an astonishing contemporary vibe. Beyond the extraordinary artistic heritage, a testimony to its centuries of civilization, the best way to enjoy Florence is to stroll along the riverside avenues at sunset, or to get lost among the city’s myriad alleyways of the bohemian Oltrarno or the ...Morekeyboard_backspace