Primavera by Sandro Botticelli
“Primavera” by Sandro Botticelli depicts a group of figures from classical mythology in a garden, brought together by Botticelli as an allegory based on the promised renewal of Spring and the seasons. The meaning of this masterpiece is debated by art historians, as the composition draws from many classical and Renaissance literary sources.
Viewed from right to left, at the right is Zephyrus, the god of the west wind, who kidnaps the nymph Chloris, whom he later marries, and she becomes the goddess of Spring. Chloris, the nymph overlaps Flora, the goddess she transforms into, as her future state, of Flora, is shown scattering or collecting roses from the ground. In the center stands Venus, gazing at the viewer and appears to be blessing the scene or cycle. The trees behind her form a broken arch, and the blindfolded Cupid aims his bow to the left. On the left of the painting, the Three Graces are joining hands in a dance; however, one of them has noticed Mercury. She is the target of cupids arrow. At the left Mercury, clothed in red with a sword, and a helmet raises his rod towards the emerging clouds.
Botticelli has created a garden scenery, which he has detailed with hundreds of flowers and plant species. The costumes with which he has clothed his figures are versions of dress or theatrical costumes from contemporary Florence. Similar to his later mythological painting of “The Birth of Venus,” this symbolic composition’s primary appeal is its visual beauty. The debated elements of this composition add to the mystery and allure of this painting.
Botticelli (1445 – 1510) was an Italian painter of the Early Renaissance who belonged to the Florentine School under the patronage of Lorenzo de’ Medici. His mythological masterpieces are his best-known works today. However, he painted a range of religious subjects and portraits. He and his workshop were primarily known for their many beautiful Madonna and Child paintings. He lived all his life in the same neighborhood of Florence, and his only significant time elsewhere was the few months he spent painting in Pisa in 1474 and his work at the Sistine Chapel in Rome in 1481–82.
- Title: Primavera
- Meaning: Spring
- Artist: Sandro Botticelli
- Year: 1482
- Dimensions 203 × 314 cm (79.9 × 123.6 in)
- Medium: Tempera on panel
- Museum: Uffizi Gallery
- Name: Sandro Botticelli
- Birth Name: Alessandro di Mariano di Vanni Filipepi
- Born: c. 1445 – Florence, Republic of Florence, (now Italy)
- Died: May 17, 1510 (aged c. 64) – Florence, Republic of Florence
- Nationality: Italian
- Movement: Italian Renaissance
- Notable works:
A Tour of the Uffizi Gallery
- “The Birth of Venus” by Sandro Botticelli
- “Primavera” by Sandro Botticelli
- Venus de’ Medici
- “The Battle of San Romano” by Paolo Uccello
- “Adoration of the Magi” by Botticelli
- “Judith Slaying Holofernes” by Artemisia Gentileschi
- Self-Portrait by Lucas Cranach the Elder
- Self-Portrait by Hans Holbein the Younger
- Santa Maria delle Grazie
- Sforza Castle Museums
- Brera Art Gallery, Pinacoteca di Brera
- Museo Poldi Pezzoli
- What makes Botticelli paintings masterpieces?
- Is Botticelli the master of mystery and allure in his paintings?
“There are three classes of people:
Those who see.
Those who see when they are shown.
Those who do not see.”
-Leonardo da Vinci
Photo Credit: Sandro Botticelli [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons