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  • Around 1469, a wealthy money changer commissioned

  • a young painter named Sandro Botticelli

  • to paint an altar piece.

  • Botticelli would, of course, become known

  • as one of the greatest painters of the High Renaissance,

  • producing works like "La Primavera"

  • and "The Birth of Venus."

  • But, in 1469, he had not yet earned this reputation.

  • The scene this young artist set out to paint was well-known:

  • the Three Wise Men, or Magi,

  • arriving at the birth place of Jesus Christ.

  • Botticelli would aspire to take this common theme

  • and produce an entirely original work,

  • while asserting himself

  • among the most important citizens of Florence.

  • Many earlier paintings illustrate the Magi

  • arriving at a stable, stately manger,

  • fitting for the son of God.

  • The young Botticelli, however, chose

  • to place the scene in the dilapidated Roman ruin.

  • At the center of this structure,

  • he placed a sturdy rock for Mary and Jesus

  • to sit high above their visitors.

  • With this decision, Botticelli seemed to say

  • Christianity will be built on sturdier stuff than Rome.

  • Botticelli then populated the space

  • with important men from his city.

  • On the right side, he paints the man

  • who paid for this work, Gaspare del Lama,

  • looking out at the viewer

  • and confidently pointing at himself

  • so that there is no question

  • who is responsible for this masterpiece.

  • Though born the son of a barber,

  • del Lama amassed a good sum of money

  • through currency exchange in his lifetime.

  • He earned enough money to buy a burial chapel

  • and decorate it with a pretty painting.

  • The Three Wise Men appear at the center of this painting,

  • kneeling to Mary and Jesus.

  • As models for these important figures,

  • Botticelli used members of the important Medici family.

  • Del Lama's career as a money changer

  • would not have been possible

  • without the help of the powerful Medici family,

  • in particular Cosimo de' Medici,

  • who appears prominently at Mary's feet.

  • The other wise men can be identified

  • as Piero and Giovanni de' Medici,

  • Cosimo's two sons.

  • The business of money exchange

  • had dubious ethical and legal associations,

  • so the friendship of this powerful family was important.

  • And the young heir to Medici power, Lorenzo,

  • could not be omitted from this painting's composition.

  • He appears to the left of the manger.

  • This painting seems to say

  • the Medici legacy, with its many healthy heirs,

  • will be built on sturdier stuff than Rome.

  • Botticelli then filled the rest of the space

  • with other friends and powerful figures from Florence.

  • And, among the Florentine elite,

  • the young, confident artist painted himself

  • looking directly at the viewer.

  • Botticelli's presence in this painting

  • illustrates a radical shift in the perception

  • of artists during this time period.

  • Botticelli did not view himself

  • as a common craftsman hired for a simple job.

  • He viewed himself as a friend

  • to the powerful families of Florence.

  • Paintings like "The Adoration of the Magi"

  • reveal much more than a simple retelling of a biblical story.

  • They can tell the story of, among other things,

  • a modestly-born money changer

  • attempting to spend his money virtuously

  • by making a local chapel more beautiful,

  • or the story of an ambitious young painter,

  • elevating the reputation of his craft

  • to stand among the wealthy elite of his city.

Around 1469, a wealthy money changer commissioned

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B1 TED-Ed botticelli painting changer lama florence

【TED-Ed】Dissecting Botticelli's Adoration of the Magi - James Earle

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    稲葉白兎 posted on 2015/01/17
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