Sketch for an Adoration of the Magi

Sketch for an Adoration of the Magi


A reproduction produced by the Vasari Society of a drawing by Fra Bartolomeo. The drawing shows a scene with the Virgin and Child seated on a raised platform slightly to the right surrounded by crowds of people below. The figure of Joseph stands in the centre and several figures are kneeling in prayer on the steps in front of the platform. In the upper left corner is a hillside with two tall trees, two figures and a group of sheep, while in the upper right corner is a building with two figures sitting on it. In the left background is a line of horses and riders moving towards the right. The crowd is to the left and right of the raised platform, and includes men on horses. This part of the detail is only very lightly drawn in. Text from the accompanying booklet produced by the Vasari Society: "No. 2 FRA BARTOLOMMEO (b. 1475; d. 1517) SKETCH FOR AN ADORATION OF THE MAGI Collection of Lord Spencer Compton. From the Lawrence and Spencer Collections. Pen and bistre with slight traces of a black chalk drawing (not reproduced in its colours) in various places in and around the bistre lines. 27.8 x 24 cm. (10 15/16 x 9 3/8 in.). A fine, hitherto unknown drawing of the master's earlier time, showing many traces of the influence of Leonardo's famous unfinished picture of the same subject. The design of the principal group is singular and rather complicated. The Virgin holding the Child on her lap is seated on a kind of elevated stone or rock platform, below which towards the left Joseph half sits half kneels contemplating her. In the foreground to the left of Joseph stands the bearded and richly draped figure of a man, apparently a guide, pointing them with uplifted left hand. The three Magi, all heavily draped, are not differentiated in age or costume, nor are their gifts visible; one of them has mounted the platform and stands in a differential attitude before the Virgin: a second, in the centre of the foreground, kneels before her with his back to the spectator and to his right stands the third. The figures of the attendant crowd and approaching cavalcade are indicated with a flowing and a rhythmical touch of great beauty. S. C."

Object Name

Sketch for an Adoration of the Magi

Date Created



support: 45.6cm x 38.1cm

accession number


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