'The Adoration of the Magi' after Botticelli
Charles Fairfax Murray
Date Made/Found: 1873-1876
, British, 1849 - 1919
, Italian, 1444 - 1510
Material and Medium: watercolour on paper
Dimensions: Frame: 497 x 653mm
Sight size: 208 x 257mm
Accession Number: CGSG00097
John Ruskin commissioned this work in relation to a lecture series called 'Ariadne Florentina'. It concerned the art and 'schools of design' in Florence, and Sandro Botticelli features in some detail. For Ruskin, Botticelli had 'stupendous power' and was as 'high in intellect and moral sentiment' as he was talented as an artist. He called him ‘the greatest Florentine workman.’
Murray's watercolour copy after Botticelli's 'Adoration of the Magi' also gained Ruskin’s favour. He called it 'entirely admirable as a picture -and as a copy.' It is rather schematic or roughly painted though and therefore Ruskin probably commissioned Murray to paint this copy to imitate only the general composition and colour of the original, rather than as a detailed study.
Ruskin described Botticelli's original painting, which dates to 1475 as 'a most admirable work', and said 'the composition, the design and the colouring are so beautiful that every artist who examines it is astonished.'