I am a lover of Renaissance art, and particularly of religious art. Sandro Botticelli (c. 1445 – May 17, 1510), who was an illustrious member of the Florentine School, painted religious and mythological themes as well as portraits.
Self-portrait of Botticelli, within his Adoration of the Magi.
Interesting facts about Botticelli:
- He was first trained as a hammerer of gold leaf.
- One of his neighbors was the explorer Amerigo Vespucci, after whom North and South America were named.
- His second apprenticeship was to the painter Fra Filippo Lippi; when Botticelli set up his own workshop, Filippino Lippi, his master’s son, joined him there.
- He was one of the painters of the Sistine Chapel; some of his work was later painted over to make room for Michelangelo’s work.
- He was obsessed with Dante’s Divine Comedy and wanted to produce illustrations for it; the project was never completed.
- He almost completely abandoned art during the last years of his life due to the preaching of Girolamo Savonarola, who advocated the destruction of secular art and culture in favor of more spiritual pursuits. If not for the intervention of his patron, Lorenzo de Medici, and his friends, he would have starved.
Examples of Botticelli’s mythological subjects:
Probably Botticelli’s most famous painting, The Birth of Venus.
Primavera by Botticelli
Venus and Mars by Botticelli.
Pallas and the Centaur by Botticelli.
Portrait of a Young Woman
Portrait of a Young Man
Religious art, including some of Botticelli’s beautiful Madonnas:
Cestello Annunciation by Botticelli.
Magnificat Madonna by Botticelli.
The Bardi Altarpiece by Botticelli.
Madonna with Lilies and Eight Angels by Botticelli.
Lamentation of Christ by Botticelli.
St. Sebastian by Botticelli.
I love the graceful figures of Botticelli’s art, and the hair–the curls and flowing hair and flowing beards. The draped garments and the sheer veils and fabrics. The beautiful faces (and yet the Christ Child looks a little creepy in some of the paintings). I especially love the Cestello Annunciation with the landscape visible through the window; and the Madonna with Lilies and Eight Angels. Mary looks like a friend of mine, and the four angels on the right could be looking at a cell phone or even posing for a selfie.
Information for this article came from Wikipedia.
Thank you to The Joy of Museums for giving us the historical background of this painting.
“The Story of Lucretia” by Sandro Botticelli
“The Story of Lucretia” by Sandro Botticelli is a tempera and oil painting on wood, painted between 1496 and 1504 during the Italian Renaissance. The subject of this painting is the legend of at Lucretia, a noblewoman, who was raped by the son of the king of Rome, Sextus Tarquinius. Lucretia, believing that the rape dishonoured her and her family, committed suicide by stabbing herself with a dagger after telling of what had befallen her.
According to legend, Brutus grabbed the dagger from Lucretia’s breast after her death and immediately shouted for the overthrow of the King. Lucius Junius Brutus took an oath to expel the King Lucius Tarquinius Superbus, from Rome and never to allow anyone else to reign again as King. This revolt against tyranny, made Lucius Tarquinius Superbus, the last king of Rome.
In the centre of the painting is Lucretia with the dagger with which she killed herself protruding from her breast. She is on public display as a heroine, and Brutus stands on the base of the column urging the citizens of Rome to revolt. The scene on the left porch is showing Sextus threatening Lucretia with sexual violence. The scene on the right porch shows the death of Lucretia.
The statue at the top of the column is David and Goliath’s head. “David and Goliath” were a symbol of revolt against tyranny in the Republic of Florence. Lucretia had called for vengeance which Brutus turned into a revolution to end the monarchy. Before the establishment of the Roman Republic, Rome had been ruled by kings. Brutus led the revolt that overthrew the last king.
Many years later, one of the leading assassins of Julius Caesar was a descendant of Lucius Junius Brutus. The primary charge of the plotters against Julius Caesar was that Julius Caesar was attempting to make himself a king. Thus a leading conspirator Cassius, enticed Brutus’ direct descendant, Marcus Junius Brutus, a leading Roman senator to join the conspiracy by referring to his ancestor’s role in deposing the last king of Rome.
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