The Magi in Italian art

January 6th is the Christian holiday of the Epiphany, when the three Magi visit the newborn Jesus in Bethlehem. Here is how the extraordinary episode was told by Matthew in the Gospel:

the star they had seen in the east went ahead of them until it stopped over the place where the child was. When they saw the star, they were overjoyed. On coming to the house, they saw the child with his mother Mary, and they bowed down and worshiped Him. Then they opened their treasures and presented Him with gifts of gold and of incense and of myrrh (Matthew 2:9-11).

Centuries later, the “Adoration of the Magi” would become a favorite theme in Italian art… we hope you enjoy our selection of masterpieces from the 14th to the 17th centuries in the gallery below!

Adorazione dei Magi, Francesco da Rimini

Francesco da Rimini, 1333-1340, tempera and gold on board, Lowe Art Museum, University of Miami, Coral Gables

Adorazione dei Magi, Bartolo di Fredi

Bartolo di Fredi, 1385, tempera and gold on board, Pinacoteca Nazionale, Siena

Gentile da Fabriano, adorazione dei Magi

Gentile da Fabriano, 1423, tempera on board, Galleria degli Uffizi, Florence

Beato Angelico, Adorazione dei Magi

Beato Angelico, 1441-1442, fresco, Convent of San Marco, Florence

Jacopo Bellini, Adorazione dei Magi

Jacopo Bellini, ca. 1460, tempera on board, Pinacoteca Nazionale, Ferrara

Botticelli, Adorazione dei Magi

Sandro Botticelli, ca. 1475, tempera on board, Galleria degli Uffizi, Florence

Ghirlandaio, Adorazione dei Magi

Domenico Bigordi, Ghirlandaio, 1488, tempera on board, Spedale degli Innocenti, Florence

Adorazione dei Magi, Andrea Mantegna

Andrea Mantegna, 1495-1500, tempera on canvas, J. Paul Getty Museum, Los Angeles

Filippino Lippi, Adorazione dei Magi

Filippino Lippi, 1496, tempera on board, Galleria degli Uffizi, Florence

Adorazione dei Magi, Dosso Dossi

Dosso Dossi, 1519, oil on board, Pinacoteca Nazionale, Ferrara

Adorazione dei Magi, Jacopo Bassano

Jacopo da Ponte (Jacopo Bassano), ca. 1542, oil on canvas, National Gallery of Scotland, Edinburgh

Luca Cambiaso, ca. 1550, oil on board, Matthiesen Gallery, London

Bartolomeo Cesi, Adorazione dei Magi

Bartolomeo Cesi, 1600-1605, oil on canvas, Monastery of San Pietro, Modena

Artemisia Gentileschi, Adorazione dei Magi

Artemisia Gentileschi, 1636-1637, oil on canvas, Cathedral Basilica of San Procolo, Pozzuoli


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