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Sandro Botticelli

Italian Painter

Sandro Botticelli Photo
Movement: Early Renaissance

Born: c.1445 - Florence, Italy

Died: May 17, 1510 - Florence, Italy

"Sandro di Botticelli is an excellent painter of panel paintings and frescoes; they are painted in a vigorous style, with the soundest judgement and perfect proportion."

Summary of Sandro Botticelli

Botticelli was perhaps the greatest humanist painter of the Early Renaissance, yet much of his life and influences remain a mystery to us today. His paintings represent the pinnacle of the cultural flourishing of the Medicis' Florence, a prosperous society that encouraged the progress of art, philosophy and literature. Throughout his long career he was commissioned to paint many different subjects, but at the heart of his work he always strove towards beauty and virtue, the qualities represented by the goddess Venus, who is the subject of many of his most famous paintings.

Key Ideas

Influenced by the revival of Greek and Roman ideas in Florence at the time, Botticelli was one of the first Western artists since classical times to depict non-religious subject matter. The idea that art could be for pleasure, and not only serve religious purposes was a breakthrough for Western art.
Botticelli bridged the gap between the Medieval Gothic style of painting and an emerging Humanist Realism. His work incorporated an emerging knowledge of human anatomy and perspective, yet it retains a decorative quality, not found in the work of artists of the succeeding High Renaissance, or for a long time afterwards. He aimed to achieve the ideal of beauty in his paintings, and he parted with realism if a more imaginative form better served the overall aesthetic idea.
His exploration of emotional depth in traditional Christian subjects was unique at a time when religious art was largely iconographic. He painted his subjects in a way that made them relatable to an ordinary person, emphasizing the human relationships between them. This is particularly evident in his early Madonna and Child paintings; there is a warmth and tenderness between mother and child that is distinctive of Botticelli.
Sandro Botticelli Photo

Sandro Botticelli was born Alessandro di Mariano Filipepi. His date of birth is not certain, but his father, who worked as a tanner, submitted tax returns that claimed Botticelli was two years old in 1447 and 13 years old in 1458. Therefore, art historians have assumed that he was born around 1445.

Most Important Art


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