Sandro Botticelli (1445-1510, actually Alessandro di Mariano Filipepi) was an Italian painter and draftsman of the early Renaissance. The nickname "Botticelli" (from botticello = Little barrel) comes from his brother Giovanni.
He had his first exhibitions in Turin in 1965 (at the Società Fotografica Subalpina) and 1968 in Modena (Galleria della Sala di Cultura). The exhibition in his hometown became the turning point in his search for direction. The style of all his pictures is achieved by the fact that all the photos are heavily post-processed in terms of color, saturation, contrast and gloss. Thus, relatively simple recordings ultimately become works of abstract art.
On the occasion of the 500th anniversary of Botticelli's death, the Städel Museum in Frankfurt am Main an exhibition with 80 masterpieces by Botticelli, which had more visitors than the city had ever seen. The exhibition broke all records.
Botticelli: A collection of 139 paintings
First to the goldsmith and then in the painting workshop of Fra Filippo Lippi trained Botticelli counts alongside Il Verrocchio, Domenico Ghirlandaio and the Pollaiuolo brothers one of the most successful painters in Florence in the second half of the 15th century.
After Filippo Lippi's death, the young painter's steep career began. In the spirit of the early Renaissance and humanism, he painted religious pictures, altarpieces and pictures from the thematic area of Greek mythology, which was rediscovered in the Renaissance, and allegories with a contemporary reference. His clients are primarily the Medici.
In the town houses of Florence there was not only interest in art in the sense of antiquity, this wealthy class primarily wants to present itself.
Botticelli's portraiture soon attained outstanding importance. In his late work, Botticelli refers back to the expressive features of the Gothic. Quite a few elements of his pictures were taken up again later, in the 19th century, by the Pre-Raphaelites. Art Nouveau also borrowed from him.
Natività mistica (click to enlarge)
Between 1465 and 1470 Botticelli made a number of images of the Madonna (including the Madonna con Bambino e due angeli, Madonna with Child and Two Angels). These early works clearly show the influence of his teacher Lippi, but also that of the two painters Antonio Pollaiuolo and Andrea del Verrocchio.
In 1470 Botticelli opened his own workshop and received from Tommaso Soderini the order with the title "Allegory of Valor", which was to complete the series of virtues. This series was made for the judgment in Palazzo dei Mercanti realized. His main clients later included the Vatican in Rome and mainly the Florentine ruling family Medici. The artist mainly worked in his native city of Florence.
The contact and connection to the Medici family helped Botticelli to become famous. The ruling Medici family and in particular Lorenzo de ’Medici granted him political protection, secured him continuous public contracts for the next 20 years and offered him the ideal conditions for the creation of his masterpieces. As a thank you, he immortalized the family in his paintings. For example, the altarpiece with the title "Adoration of the Magi"for the church Santa Maria Novella, in which you can see some portraits of the Medici family.
Osterie d'Italia 2019/20: Over 1,700 addresses, selected and recommended by SLOW FOOD
Between 1481 and 1482 Botticelli was together with other artists by Pope Sixtus IV. Called to Rome to the newly built Sistine Chapel to decorate with large wall paintings depicting events from the life of Jesus and Moses, as well as with portraits of previous popes.
Botticelli's works "The birth of Venus"(1485 to 1486),"spring“ (1478), "Pallas Athene subdues the centaur"(1482 to 1484) and"Venus and Mars"(1495 to 1496) are among his most famous pictures with mythological motifs.
That is in the Uffizi Gallery in Florence existing paintings "La nascita di Venere„(„The birth of Venus“) Is probably one of the most famous paintings in the world. It represents the goddess Venus which rises from an oversized shell half lying on the sea.
The birth of Venus (click to enlarge)
These allegorical pictures show the close connection between the artist's creativity and the humanistic ideas of his time. The humanists tried to overcome the division between ancient thought and Christian tradition. In this way, salvation history is revealed to them not only in Christian texts, but also in profane poetry and art. Sensual beauty was considered a step on the way to God; Through them man advances to spiritual beauty, which consists in virtue and wisdom.
"The spring" with its flower-wreathed, slightly veiled girls moving in a paradisiacal landscape, embodies the awakening of nature while "The Birth of Venus"on which the goddess of love emerges from the sea on an oversized shell, embodies the union of nature and myth, of earthly joy and divine purity.
Spring (click to enlarge)
Like these works, the painter's religious pictures from this period (including "The Adoration of the Magi" and "The Coronation of Mary ") this contemporary ideas at the same time with older, Gothic-inspired images.
Botticelli shoulder bag
With the death of Lorenzo de ’Medici in 1492 the most brilliant period of Florentine art came to an end and social and religious unrest began, especially whenGerolamo Savonarola established his state of God in Florence until his execution in 1498.
After the burn Savonarolas at the stake the tone of Botticelli's pictures changed. Botticelli is said to have been a follower of Savonarola and shared with him the rejection of the sensual happiness of the Renaissance. From this point on, Botticelli's pictures displayed a rather pessimistic and thoughtful mood.
In the last decade of the 15th century Botticelli illustrated with around 100 drawings the "Divine Comedy"by the Italian national poet Dante Alighieri.
Towards the end of life, Botticelli's fame faded. After 1500 he was possibly unable to paint himself because of a handicap, but his workshop continued to work. The art historian GiorgioVasari describes the artist in old age as an impoverished man who hobbled through the city on crutches. However, there is no evidence for this scenario. In any case, Botticelli had been living very withdrawn for the last few years and died on May 17, 1510 in his hometown of Florence.
Botticelli's oeuvre shows him to be one of the most important painters of the Italian early Renaissance.