Sandro Botticelli

Renaissance Artist (1445-1510)

When and Where?

Sandro Botticelli was born in 1445 in Florence, Italy and lived there his whole life.

Education and Training

Little is known about Botticelli's private life. Botticelli's first artistic training was with a goldsmith, which may have been his brother. His official painting master was Fra Filippo Lippi.

Life

Botticelli had a studio where he painted all his works. Between 1481 and 1482 Botticelli travelled from Florence to Rome to paint three scenes from the life of Moses on the walls of the Sistine Chapel for Pope Sixtus IV. He loved the beautiful ancient artwork there so much that he included references of some works in his later artwork.


When he returned home, his career thrived. Botticelli created some of his most important religious paintings during this time, though they are now all destroyed.


The 1490's were trouble for Florence. There were religious, economic, and political issues. During the 1490's, Botticelli began his illustrations for Dante's Commedia that he worked on until his death in 1510.

Three of his Paintings:

His Major Patrons

  • Guaspare Lami
  • Lorenzo (de) Medici
  • Piero Pollaiuolo
  • Lorenzo di Pierfrancesco

His Style

classicism - includes mythology and history like Venus and Mars or Primavera

secularism - includes prominent public figures like Adoration of the Magi

naturalism - includes nature & paganism, and puts detail into line and form like Primavera

Primavera

Primavera, also referred to as Allegory of Spring, was created between 1477 and 1482. It is currently kept in the Uffizi Gallery in Florence, Italy.


In this piece, Botticelli uses color to help distinguish each characters' personality. Like in most classical pieces, he focuses on elegance–the dresses the ladies are wearing–and symmetry–there are four people on each side of the painting, three women towards the center and then a man on either side.


This piece is classified as classicism because, like I mentioned above, it includes major details on elegance, symmetry, and form.

My description

In this painting, there are six women and two men, along with a cupid-like figure above, in a forest full of what looks like orange trees. On the right side of the painting, a woman in a flower patterned dress with a crown looks like she is collecting flowers in the folds of her dress.

The woman closest to her dressed in white, is being grabbed by a man from above. He looks different from the rest of the characters.

On the left side there is a group of three women also in the same white dresses, that look like they are dancing. A man in red with a sword and a helmet stands near them with his arm raised. The flying baby has an arrow pointed towards the three women.

In the center there is a woman with a red cloak draped over her shoulder. The trees behind her kind of form a frame around her and it draws to attention to her.


I find this piece interesting because of the characters. One can come up with many different stories about what they think is occurring, but of course, only Botticelli knows for sure.