Sandro Botticelli biography - Essay Example

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Sandro Filipepi was born in Florence in 1445, the fourth child of tanner Alessandro di Mariano Filipepi. His nickname was derived from Botticello ("little barrel"), either the nickname of his elder brother or the name of the goldsmith to whom Sandro was first apprenticed…
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Download file to see previous pages This can be seen in his first commission 'Fortitude' (1470), painted for the Merchants Guild in Florence. Despite this description of his painting style, he nevertheless produced strong images with an excellent attention to detail and good use of perspective though unlike many of that time he did not really concern himself with working out the exact details of either perspective or anatomy for that matter. This indifference with anatomy is one of the ways in which Bottacelli manages to produce the serene quality in many of figures in his paintings.
Through the influence of Verocchio and the brothers Pollajuoli this idealism was combined with the naturalness of Masaccio. These qualities explain Botticelli's great influence over later painters. Botticelli's life was a retired one passed largely in very modest circumstances. We know, however that he was in the employ of the Medici and other prominent Florentine families from about 1483 to 1500. Although never inclined to frivolity he was yet influence by the worldly spirit of the age until Savonarola's powerful call to repentance aroused his moral nature and guided his powers, it now seems, into entirely new paths. He never knew how to take care of money and he died at last in need. Botticelli was too unassuming to sign and date his works in most instances, so that the order in time of his paintings has to be judged from the canvasses themselves. In 1470 Sandro started own workshop. Five years later, he painted the portrait (National Gallery, Washington) of Giuliano de' Medici, brother of Lorenzo. In about 1478, Sandro, now in the favor of the Medici family, painted the enigmatic "Primavera (Spring)" (Uffizi, Florence). The work was commissioned by Lorenzo, son of Pierfrancesco de' Medici, a tormented and neurotic young man. The painting of "Primavera"- like "La Nascita di Venere (The Birth of Venus)" - was placed inside the Villa di Castello where Lorenzino lived. From this painting, a number of art historians have derived the iconography of the Florentine culture of Botticelli's day. Agnolo Poliziano, poet and tutor of Lorenzo de' Medici's sons (including Giovanni, future Pope Clemente X), with his lyric poems in which the wind teases nymphs in Arcadian woods, would appear to be the textual reference for Botticelli's mythology (Vasari 44). Other famous works by Botticelli include "Pallas and the Centaur", "Venus and Mars", and "The Birth of Venus". The figures certainly do not enact a known myth but rather are used allegorically to illustrate various aspects of love: in "Pallas," the subjugation of male lust by female chastity; in "Venus and Mars," a celebration of woman's calm triumph after man's sexual exhaustion; and in "The Birth of Venus," the birth of love in the world (Levey 103, 111).
Whilst working for the Medici certainly conferred many rewards they were nevertheless a dangerous family to be round. The Renaissance, however, is not called that for nothing and along side the wars, killings and double dealings that punctuated that period was a real sense of a rebirth of ideas, science, art and philosophical thought. Key to this in Florence was the rediscovery of the philosophy of Plato, Aristotle, and Pythagoras, which fused together with some elements of eastern mysticism. This new philosophical ideal became known as Neoplatonism, which saw love, beauty, ...Download file to see next pagesRead More
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