Adoration of the Magi

The city of Florence was particularly fond of the Magi, so it’s only natural that Botticelli depict them in his paintings. In fact, he was commissioned to paint at least seven different depictions of the Magi (hopefully he got some corporate caterers sent over while he was working on all those so he didn’t go hungry). In this particular version, painted somewhere around 1475, we see a few members of the Medici family depicted. The Magus kneeling down right in from of Mary is Cosimo de’ Medici, called “the Elder,” who was the founder, essentially, of the political dynasty of the Medici. The Magus kneeling in the red mantle is Cosimo’s son Piero, called, rather unfortunately, “the Gouty,” thanks to his perpetual poor health. Cosimo’s other son, Giovanni, also features, as the other Magus. Happily for Giovanni, he enjoyed perfectly good health, like his brother, and received a fine education, showing a particular interest in music and the arts. Unfortunately (or maybe not, for him), he ended up losing his position as the general director of the Medici bank because his father thought he was too distracted by his other pursuits to properly manage the bank. Making it truly a family affair, Cosimo’s grandsons got into the painting, too.

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