Adoration of the Magi HD+

 Adoration of the Magi

  • 1481
  • Oil (under painting) on wood panel
  • 240 × 250 cm, 96 × 97 in
  • Florence, Uffizi
This is probably my favorite Leonardo "painting" I put it in "s" because it doesn't really even look like a painting. That's supposedly because he didn't "finish" it and this is considered more of an under-painting. Artists will usually sketch out a rough version to use as a base for applying the paint - this is called a Cartoon. Whatever you want to call it this image has a LOT going on. Most of which you can't see without seeing it with the newly released HD image of it. I think Leonardo intentionally left this painting as it is. It's borderline interactive and much more interesting with the figures melding in and out of each other. I like to think of it as an early form or "Where's Waldo" except you don't know what Waldo looks like or what he is. This image could tell a lot of stories - most of which have nothing to do with central theme of "the three wise men."

"The term originated in the Middle Ages and first described a preparatory drawing for a piece of art, such as a painting, fresco, tapestry, or stained glass window. In the 19th century, it came to refer to humorous illustrations in magazines and newspapers, and in the early 20th century and onward it referred to comic strips and animated films."

This was one of Leonardo’s first commissions by the Augustinian monks of San Donato a Scopeto in Florence. Although Leonardo didn’t finish it and left for Milan, it is still considered a masterpiece and has been in the Uffizi since 1670. Leonardo sketched some pre-drawings that show various ideas he was playing around with before deciding on an almost square panel. The painting depicts the biblical story of the “Adoration of the Magi” when the three wise men come to visit the newly born Jesus. Some parts of the painting seem to be covered by other artists and is undergoing a restoration attempt (2012-2014)



  • There are over 40 Faces
  • 10+ Horses
  • An Elephant
  • Camel
  • Donkey
  • Dogs


There is an elephant that you can't make out unless you zoom WAY in. It doesn't even show up in the 10mp file. You have to use the Super HD image to even see it.


Some of these horses are found in his other sketches which probably means they were based off of actual models - possibly even his own horses that he kept as pets.


Leonardo included himself in this painting. If you look closely he seems to be wearing glasses ;-) Which is very possible since he did describe an optical advice to use to help with perspective. Not to mention that he invented the idea of the contact lens.

“Have a piece of glass as large as a half sheet of royal folio paper and set thus firmly in front of your eyes, that is, between your eye and the thing you want to draw. Then place yourself at a distance of 2/3 of a braccia from the glass fixing your head with a machine in such a way that you cannot move it at all. Then shut or entirely cover one eye and with a brush or red chalk draw upon the glass that which you see beyond it; then trace it on paper from the glass, afterwards transfer it onto good paper, and paint it if you like, carefully attending to the aerial perspective.” - Leonardo da Vinci






Relativity, 1953


Stairs sketched by M. C. Escher  uses forced or 'impossible' perspective to mess with your perceptions. Leonardo used this same technique and is also credited with the first form of Anamorphosis. 

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