Adoration of the Magi, ca. 1520
Purchased by Pierpont Morgan, 1910
In addition to the Acts of the Apostles series for the Sistine Chapel, Raphael received a commission for a second set of tapestries, in this instance illustrating the Life of Christ. In all likelihood, Pope Leo X (r. 1513–21) initiated this project, and most of the designs were probably completed during his papacy. Often considered the most successful of the group, the tapestry of the Adoration of the Magi, which is based on the present drawing, has the strongest claim of having been designed during Raphael's lifetime. Modern scholarship has assigned to Giovanni Francesco Penni (1496?–ca. 1528) a number of finished drawings from Raphael's workshop, including, on occasion, the present study.