[MR] Wikipedia: Lippo Adoration of the Magi

Garth Groff and Sally Sanford mallardlodge1000 at gmail.com
Wed May 23 02:56:48 PDT 2018

Noble Friends,

Today's featured image on Wikipedia is *Adoration of the Magi*, an Italian
devotional painting dating from the mid-15th century.

The *tondo*, or round painting, is attributed to the Italian masters Fra
Angelico and Filippo Lippi, with possible additions by other painters
working in their studios. It is generally believed to have been painted
between 1440 and 1460. The work is owned by the National Gallery of Art in
Washington, D.C.

The Wikipedia page describing the painting is found at
. By clicking on the image of the work at the upper right, you can see
several progressive enlargements, though they do take a while to load.
Still, they can't do justice to the 54" original. More detailed images can
be seen at

Setting aside problems with the scale and composition of the painting, the
detail of this work is fascinating. Like many Renaissance painters, the
artists were a bit short on period research sources. Of course, they "knew"
that most males from the mysterious East wore turbans. Other than that,
most of the figures wear contemporary European dress and hair styles,
telling us far more about the Italian Renaissance than biblical Palestine.
Particularly take note of the three shepherds' tunics, one behind Joseph,
and the other two by the wall of the stable. Pure peasant garb for sure.

The nearly-naked figures to the left of the stable are a mystery.
Compositional infill, or some allegory that has now been lost? Nobody knows
for sure. The article suggests they are just coming out of a bathhouse to
see what all the commotion is about.

Also take note of the outsized birds (likely among the later additions).
One is obviously a peacock. When these birds were introduced to Europe is
unknown to me, but there are references to pea fowl in England from at
least he 13th century. High-status table fare for the rich, but I've read
they were tough and not very tasty. The other two birds are a goshawk
attacking a pheasant.

Have fun exploring this very interesting work.

Yours Aye,

Mungo Napier, Laird of Mallard Lodge  🦆

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