This brilliantly colored, richly decorated circular panel presents a splendid vision of the arrival of the Magi, accompanied by a courtly entourage. A 1492 inventory of Lorenzo de' Medici's estate possibly identifies this picture as the most valuable in the collection of the powerful Florentine family, and attributes it to Fra Angelico. The Adoration of the Magi actually appears to be the product of two artists; Fra Angelico may only have started the altarpiece, the greatest part of the work having been taken up by Fra Filippo Lippi.
Fra Angelico was a Dominican known for his great monastic devotion; his saintly deportment is mirrored in the quiet piety of his paintings. The representation of the Virgin Mary here characterizes his style in the pure, simple form of her head and the gentle refinement of her features. Fra Filippo's earthy style appeals to the viewer in the portrayal of massive forms and well–articulated figures. In the Adoration, the richly attired wise men and their attendants, as well as the broad–faced Joseph beside the Virgin, are usually attributed to him.
While several elements of the painting can be seen as symbolic—for example, the peacock was considered a symbol of immortality—the Adoration can also simply be appreciated for its sparkling color, delightful details, and festive gaiety.