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Sandro Botticelli

Sandro Botticelli

(1445 - 1510)
Born: Florence, Italy
Style: High Renaissance
Famous Works:
  • The Birth of Venus (1480)
  • Primavera (c. 1482)
  • Venus and Mars (1483)
Sandro Botticelli received his schooling from Fra Filippo Lippi and during the "golden age" of Florence came to be recognized as one of the city's most talented artisans. He was a favorite painter of the Lorenzo dè Medici family and was influenced by the Medici leader's interest in New-Platonism, a mystical study of mythology and ancient civilizations. Botticelli's most famous painting, Birth of Venus, displays his enthusiasm for the classics, with his interpretation of myth, pageantry, and romance. It also epitomizes his stylistic emphasis on outlined form and shallowly depicted space. In 1481 the artist was called from Florence to Rome by Pope Sixtus IV to paint his beautiful and whimsical images in fresco in the Sistine Chapel. Botticelli attained significant prestige in his hometown, but was devastated by the death of Lorenzo dè Medici in 1492. The passing of this great patron marked a great shift in the climate of Florence. From the Humanist and Platonic ideas of the Early Renaissance, Florentine citizens were now exposed to the fervent spirituality of the Dominican monk Girolamo Savonarola. Responding to the monk's preaching on the corruption of Florence after the grandeur and flowering of Florentine society under the Medici clan, Botticelli discontinued painting mythological themes. Savonarola motivated Botticelli to destroy many of his paintings, and paint only religious works. The artist died unhappy and in obscurity. Botticelli's work was rediscovered in the nineteenth century by the Pre-Raphaelites.
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