Sandro Botticelli

Sandro Botticelli Adoration of the Magi
Adoration of the Magi

Sandro Botticelli stands out among his contemporaries for his special style. When other masters were fond of perspective and volume, Sandro Botticelli preferred clear and concise lines, focusing on the transfer of human feelings. His Madonnas and the faces of saints are, in fact, full of psychologism portraits that convey subtle emotional experiences. Compared to other works of that era, Botticelli’s paintings look lighter and more elegant, and the restrained emotions of his heroes touch us even after 500 years.

Sandro Botticelli Portrait of a young man in a red cap
Portrait of a young man in a red cap

Biography of Sandro Botticelli

Sandro Botticelli was born in Florence and became the fourth son in the family of a wealthy artisan. The exact date of the artist’s birth is unknown, the reliably estimated period of time is between 1444 and 1446. Traditionally, March 1, 1445 is indicated. In his early youth, Sandro Botticelli was arranged to study at a jewelry workshop, where he mastered the art of precise drawing. Since then, in his work, the main thing has always been the line, not the color. Characteristic features for the master are clear contours of figures, the presence of patterns and ornaments. The young man decided to become an artist after he saw the admired works of Fra Filippo Lippi.

Sandro Botticelli Santa Maria Novella
Santa Maria Novella

Carier start

By the time of the death of Fra Filippo Lippi in 1469, Botticelli had already become an independent and rather successful artist. He commissioned beautiful Madonnas and took on several students, including his own teacher’s son. The first glory is brought to him by the Allegory of Power, written to decorate the courtroom, and the Adoration of the Magi, created for the Medici Chapel. The second work aroused universal admiration and provided the author with many years of patronage from the influential Medici family.

Sandro Botticelli Madonna and Child with Singing Angels
Madonna and Child with Singing Angels

In 1481, Botticelli took part in the painting of the Sistine Chapel. The artist returned even more famous, by that time many of his competitors had left the city: Leonardo da Vinci went to Milan, Andrea Verrocchio (Andrea del Verrocchio) to Venice.

In the 1480s, the painter worked harder than ever, and created the most famous works, including The Birth of Venus and Spring. Two other famous works on the theme of ancient mythology are Venus and Mars, written on the occasion of the wedding in the Medici family, and Pallas and the Centaur, symbolizing the victory of reason over passions.

Sandro Botticelli Hell, Canto XVIII
Hell, Canto XVIII

In the early 1490s, Florence suffered from a deep crisis.

Lorenzo Medici dies, and soon the French troops drive out the remaining representatives of this family from the city. The gloomy monk Savonarola (Girolamo Savonarola), who called the people to repentance and predicted the end of the world, became the unofficial head of the once cheerful and free Florence. Presumably, Sandro Botticelli was also imbued with the spirit of these sermons. He began to paint less and chose only religious themes for later works. The artist died on May 17, 1510 in poverty, left in the care of his nephews. He did not have his own children.

It is hard to believe that this artist was in for a long oblivion. For a hundred years after his death, before the beginning of Mannerism, few people remembered him. Then he again remained in the shadow of the more famous masters of the Renaissance. It was only in the 19th century that the well-deserved fame came to him. This was largely due to the Pre-Raphaelite brotherhood, who appreciated the beauty and nobility of Botticelli’s images and adopted a lot from him.

Abyss of Hell
Abyss of Hell
Triumph of Mordecai, from Esther's story
Triumph of Mordecai, from Esther’s story
Esther at the Palace Gate
Esther at the Palace Gate
Sandro Botticelli Punishment of Korea, Dathan and Aviron
Punishment of Korea, Dathan and Aviron
Sandro Botticelli Spring
Pallas and Centaur
Pallas and Centaur
Scene from the life of Moses
Scene from the life of Moses
Temptation of Christ
Temptation of Christ

Young Moses

History of Nastagio
History of Nastagio
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