- Sandro Botticelli
Probable self-portrait of Botticelli, in his Adoration of the Magi (1475).
Birth name Alessandro di Mariano Filipepi Born c. 1445
Florence, Republic of Florence, (now Italy)
Died May 17, 1510 (aged 64–65)
Florence, Republic of Florence, (now Italy)
Nationality Italian Field Painting Training Filippo Lippi
Andrea del Verrocchio
Movement Italian Renaissance Works Primavera
The Birth of Venus
The Adoration of the Magi
Influenced by Fra Filippo Lippi
Alessandro di Mariano di Vanni Filipepi, better known as Sandro Botticelli (Italian pronunciation: [ˈsandro botːiˈtʃɛlːi]) (c. 1445 – May 17, 1510) was an Italian painter of the Early Renaissance. He belonged to the Florentine school under the patronage of Lorenzo de' Medici, a movement that Giorgio Vasari would characterize less than a hundred years later as a "golden age", a thought, suitably enough, he expressed at the head of his Vita of Botticelli. Botticelli's posthumous reputation suffered until the late 19th century; since then his work has been seen to represent the linear grace of Early Renaissance painting. Among his best known works are The Birth of Venus and Primavera.
Details of Botticelli's life are sparse, but it is known that he became an apprentice when he was about fourteen years old, which would indicate that he received a fuller education than the other Renaissance artists. He was born in the city of Florence in a house in the Via Nuova, Borg'Ognissanti. Vasari reported that he was initially trained as a goldsmith by his brother Antonio. Probably by 1462 he was apprenticed to Fra Filippo Lippi; many of his early works have been attributed to the elder master, and attributions continue to be uncertain. Influenced also by the monumentality of Masaccio's painting, it was from Lippi that Botticelli learned a more intimate and detailed manner. As recently discovered, during this time, Botticelli could have traveled to Hungary, participating in the creation of a fresco in Esztergom, ordered in the workshop of Filippo Lippi by János Vitéz, then archbishop of Hungary.
By 1470, Botticelli had his own workshop. Even at this early date his work was characterized by a conception of the figure as if seen in low relief, drawn with clear contours, and minimizing strong contrasts of light and shadow which would indicate fully modeled forms.
The Adoration of the Magi for Santa Maria Novella (c. 1475-1476, now at the Uffizi) contains the portraits of Cosimo de' Medici ("the finest of all that are now extant for its life and vigour"), his grandson Giuliano de' Medici, and Cosimo's son Giovanni. The quality of the scene was hailed by Vasari as one of Botticelli's pinnacles.
In 1481, Pope Sixtus IV summoned Botticelli and other prominent Florentine and Umbrian artists to fresco the walls of the Sistine Chapel. The iconological program was the supremacy of the Papacy. Sandro's contribution included the Temptations of Christ, the Punishment of the Rebels and Trial of Moses. He returned to Florence, and "being of a sophistical turn of mind, he there wrote a commentary on a portion of Dante and illustrated the Inferno which he printed, spending much time over it, and this abstention from work led to serious disorders in his living." Thus Vasari characterized the first printed Dante (1481) with Botticelli's decorations; he could not imagine that the new art of printing might occupy an artist.
The masterpieces Primavera (c. 1482) and The Birth of Venus (c. 1485) were both seen by Vasari at the villa of Lorenzo di Pierfrancesco de' Medici at Castello in the mid-16th century, and until recently, it was assumed that both works were painted specifically for the villa. Recent scholarship suggests otherwise: the Primavera was painted for Lorenzo's townhouse in Florence, and The Birth of Venus was commissioned by someone else for a different site. By 1499, both had been installed at Castello.
In these works, the influence of Gothic realism is tempered by Botticelli's study of the antique. But if the painterly means may be understood, the subjects themselves remain fascinating for their ambiguity. The complex meanings of these paintings continue to receive widespread scholarly attention, mainly focusing on the poetry and philosophy of humanists who were the artist's contemporaries. The works do not illustrate particular texts; rather, each relies upon several texts for its significance. Of their beauty, characterized by Vasari as exemplifying "grace" and by John Ruskin as possessing linear rhythm, there can be no doubt.
In the mid-1480s Botticelli worked on a major fresco cycle with Perugino, Domenico Ghirlandaio and Filippino Lippi, for Lorenzo the Magnificent's villa near Volterra; in addition he painted many frescoes in Florentine churches. In 1491 he served on a committee to decide upon a façade for the Cathedral of Florence.
Influence of Savonarola
In later life, Botticelli was one of the followers of the deeply moralistic monk Savonarola who preached in Florence from 1490 until his execution in 1498, though the full extent of Savonarola's influence remains uncertain.
"The story that he burnt his own paintings on pagan themes in the notorious "Bonfire of the Vanities" is not told by Vasari, who nevertheless asserts that of the sect of Savonarola "he was so ardent a partisan that he was thereby induced to desert his painting, and, having no income to live on, fell into very great distress. For this reason, persisting in his attachment to that party, and becoming a Piagnone he abandoned his work." Botticelli biographer Ernst Steinmann searched for the artist's psychological development through his Madonnas. In the "deepening of insight and expression in the rendering of Mary's physiognomy", Steinmann discerned proof of Savonarola's influence over Botticelli. (In Steinmann's work the dates of a number of Madonnas were placed at a later point in the artist's life). Steinmann disagreed with Vasari's assertion that Botticelli produced nothing after coming under the influence of Girolamo Savonarola believing rather that the spiritual and emotional Virgins painted by Sandro followed directly from the teachings of the Dominican monk.
Death and posthumous eclipse
Botticelli was already little employed in 1502. In 1504 he was a member of the committee appointed to decide where Michelangelo's David would be placed. His later work, especially as seen in a series on the life of St. Zenobius, witnessed a diminution of scale, expressively distorted figures, and a non-naturalistic use of colour reminiscent of the work of Fra Angelico nearly a century earlier. After his death his reputation was eclipsed longer and more thoroughly than that of any other major European artist. His paintings remained in the churches and villas for which they had been created, his frescoes in the Sistine Chapel upstaged by Michelangelo's. British collector William Young Ottley, however, had brought Botticelli's The Mystical Nativity to London with him in 1799 after buying it in Italy. After Ottley's death its next purchaser, William Fuller-Maitland of Stansted, allowed it to be exhibited in a major art exhibition held in Manchester in 1857, The Art Treasures Exhibition, where amongst many other art works it was viewed by more than a million people. The first nineteenth century art historian to have looked with satisfaction at Botticelli's Sistine frescoes was Alexis-François Rio. Rio, Anna Brownell Jameson and Charles Eastlake were alerted to Botticelli, works by his hand began to appear in German collections, and the Pre-Raphaelite Brotherhood incorporated elements of his work into their own. Walter Pater created a literary picture of Botticelli, who was then taken up by the Aesthetic movement. The first monograph on the artist was published in 1893; then, between 1900 and 1920 more books were written on Botticelli than any other painter.
Botticelli never wed, and expressed a strong aversion to the idea of marriage, a prospect he claimed gave him nightmares.
The popular view is that he suffered from unrequited love for Simonetta Vespucci, a married noblewoman. According to legend, she had served as the model for The Birth of Venus and recurs throughout his paintings, despite the fact that she had died years earlier, in 1476. Botticelli asked that when he die, he be buried at her feet in the Church of Ognissanti in Florence. His wish was carried out when he died some 34 years later, in 1510.
Some modern historians have also examined other aspects of his sexuality. In 1938, Jacques Mesnil discovered a summary of a charge in the Florentine Archives for November 16, 1502 which read simply "Botticelli keeps a boy", under an accusation of sodomy. The painter would then have been fifty-eight; the charges were eventually dropped. Mesnil dismissed it as a customary slander by which partisans and adversaries of Savonarola abused each other. Opinion remains divided on whether this is evidence of homosexuality. Many have firmly backed Mesnil, but others have cautioned against hasty dismissal of the charge. Yet while speculating on the subject of his paintings, Mesnil nevertheless concluded "woman was not the only object of his love".
- History of painting
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- ^ a b Patrick, Renaissance and Reformation vol 1, 2007. Other sources give 1446, 1447 or 1444–45.
- ^ According to Vasari, he was still in school in February of 1458; an able pupil, he easily grew restless, and was initially apprenticed as a goldsmith. Lightbown, p. 19.
- ^ Lightbown, p. 20.
- ^ Vasari, Lives
- ^ The Private Life of a Christmas Masterpiece The Mystic Nativity BBC TV 2009
- ^ Smith, Webster: On the Original Location of the Primavera.
- ^ Murphy, Mimi. "Return of a forgotten master". time.com. http://www.time.com/time/magazine/article/0,9171,603185,00.html.
- ^ A "Weeper" or "Mourner", as the repentant followers of Savonarola were called. (Vasari text on-line).
- ^ Primavera and The Birth of Venus remained in the Grand Ducal Medici villa of Castello until 1815. (Levey 1960:292
- ^ bulletin.us
- ^ Pre-Raphaelite Art in the Victoria & Albert Museum, Suzanne Fagence Cooper, p.95-96 ISBN 1-85177-394-0
- ^ This section is based on Michael Levey, "Botticelli and Nineteenth-Century England" Journal of the Warburg and Courtauld Institutes 23.3/4 (July 1960:291-306).
- ^ Ronald Lightbrown, Sandro Botticelli: Life and Work, New York, 1989
- ^ Louis Crompton, Homosexuality and Civilization, Harvard University, 2003
- ^ Michael Rocke, Forbidden Friendships: Homosexuality and Male culture in Renaissance Florence, Oxford University Press, 1996
- ^ Andre Chastel, Art et humanisme a Florence au temps de Laurent le Magnifique, Presses Universitaires de France, 1959
- ^ Jacques Mesnil, Botticelli, Paris, 1938
- Knackfuss H., Monographs On Artists, VI. Botticelli by Ernst Steinman, Translated by Campbell Dodgson, New York, Lemcke & Huachner, 1901, Pg. 112.
- New York Times, Life of Botticelli, November 19, 1904, Page BR783.
- Da Vinci Declassified, 2006 TLC documentary
- Ullman, H., Sandro Botticelli, 1893
- Yashiro, Y., Sandro Botticelli and the Florentine Renaissance, 1929
- Lightbown, R., Sandro Botticelli: Life and Work, 1989
- The New Encyclopædia Britannica, Macropaedia, Volume 2, 1991, Page 413-14.
- Sandro Botticelli Biography, Style and Technique
- Sandro Botticelli in "A World History of Art"
- Botticelli at Panopticon Virtual Art Gallery
- World of Dante Botticelli's Dante illustrations and interactive version of Chart of Hell
- sandrobotticelli.net, 200 works by Sandro Botticelli
- Web Gallery of Art Biography of Sandro Botticelli
Botticelli WorksMadonna and Child with an Angel · Madonna and Child with an Angel · Madonna della Loggia · The Virgin and Child with Two Angels and the Young St. John the Baptist · The Annunciation · The Virgin and Child, St. John and an Angel · Madonna and Child · Adoration of the Magi · Portrait of a Young Man · Madonna in Glory with Seraphim · Madonna of the Sea · Madonna of the Rosegarden (Madonna del Roseto) · Madonna and Child and Two Angels · Portrait of Esmeralda Brandini · Fortitude · Madonna and Child with Six Saints (Sant'Ambrogio Altarpiece) · Madonna and Child with an Angel · The Return of Judith to Bethulia · The Discovery of the Murder of Holofernes · Adoration of the Magi · Portrait of a Young Woman · Adoration of the Magi · St. Sebastian · Portrait of a Man with a Medal of Cosimo the Elder · Portrait of Giuliano de' Medici · Madonna and Child · Catherine of Alexandria · Nativity · Portrait of Giuliano de' Medici · The Birth of Christ · Portrait of Giuliano de' Medici · Madonna and Child with Eight Angels · St. Augustine · Madonna of the Magnificat (Madonna del Magnificat) · Madonna of the Book (Madonna del Libro) · Portrait of a Young Woman · Portrait of a Young Woman · Annunciation · St. Sixtus II · Adoration of the Magi · Primavera · Pallas and the Centaur · Venus and Mars · Portrait of a Young Man · Portrait of a Young Man · The Story of Nastagio degli Onesti · Venus and the Three Graces Presenting Gifts to a Young Woman · A Young Man Being Introduced to the Seven Liberal Arts · The Virgin and Child Enthroned (Bardi Altarpiece) · The Birth of Venus · Annunciation · Madonna Adoring the Child with Five Angels · Madonna of the Pomegranate (Madonna della Melagrana) · The Virgin and Child with Four Angels and Six Saints (Pala di San Barnaba) · Vision of St. Augustine · Christ in the Sepulcre · Salome with the Head of St. John the Baptist · Extraction of St. Ignatius' Heart · Cestello Annunciation · The Virgin Adoring the Child · Lamentation over the Dead Christ · Portrait of a Man · San Marco Altarpiece · St. Augustine in His Cell · Madonna and Child and the Young St John the Baptist · Portrait of Lorenzo di Ser Piero Lorenzi · Virgin and Child with the Infant St. John the Baptist · Holy Trinity (Pala delle Convertite) · The Virgin and Child with Three Angels (Madonna del Padiglione) · Calumny of Apelles · Lamentation over the Dead Christ with Saints · Last Communion of St. Jerome · Portrait of Dante · The Story of Virginia · The Story of Lucretia · Crucifixion · Christ Crowned with Thorns · Transfiguration, St Jerome, St Augustine · Judith Leaving the Tent of Holofernes · Agony in the Garden · The Mystical Nativity · Baptism of St. Zenobius and His Appointment as Bishop · Three Miracles of St. Zenobius · Three Miracles of St. Zenobius · Last Miracle and the Death of St. Zenobius
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Sandro Botticelli — Sandro Botticelli † Catholic Encyclopedia ► Sandro Botticelli A famous Florentine painter. Born at Florence about 1447; died in the same city, 1510. Botticelli s name is properly Allesandro di Mariano Filipepi, Mariano Filipepi being… … Catholic encyclopedia
Sandro Botticelli — Pour les articles homonymes, voir Mariano (homonymie). Sandro Botticelli … Wikipédia en Français
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Sandro Botticelli — Vermutliches Selbstbildnis, Detail aus dem Zanobi Altar, Uffizien, Florenz Sandro Botticelli (* 1. März 1445 in Florenz; † begraben: 17. Mai 1510 ebenda; eigentlich Alessandro di Mariano Filipepi) war ein italienischer Maler und Zeichner der… … Deutsch Wikipedia
Sandro Botticelli — Alessandro di Mariano di Vanni Filipepi, mejor conocido como Sandro Botticelli (Florencia, 1445 id., 1510). El apellido Botticelli en realidad deriva del apodo que se le diera a los integrantes de su familia ya que algunos de ellos eran obesos y… … Enciclopedia Universal
Sandro Botticelli — noun Italian painter of mythological and religious paintings (1444 1510) • Syn: ↑Botticelli, ↑Alessandro di Mariano dei Filipepi • Instance Hypernyms: ↑old master … Useful english dictionary
Sandro Botticelli — n. (1444 1510, born as Alessandro di Mariano Filipepi), Italian Renaissance artist who painted the Birth of Venus … English contemporary dictionary
Alessandro di Mariano Filipepi (Sandro Botticelli) — Sandro Botticelli Pour les articles homonymes, voir Mariano (homonymie). Sandro Botticelli Nom de naissance Alessandro di Mariano di Vanni Filipepi Activité(s) Artiste peintre Naissance 1er … Wikipédia en Français
Liste d'œuvres de Sandro Botticelli — Autoportrait Cette page est une liste d œuvres de Sandro Botticelli (1444/45 1510). Sandro Botticelli de son vrai nom Alessandro di Mariano di Vanni Filipepi est un peintre italien majeur de la Renaissance de l école florentine. Cette liste est… … Wikipédia en Français
La Nativité (Sandro Botticelli) — La Nativité Artiste Sandro Botticelli Année 1476 1477 Technique Fresque … Wikipédia en Français