This spectacular painting, with renditions of figures that were near-lifesize, was deemed a masterpiece and instituted as a canonical work of western art history. The Pre-Raphaelite Brotherhood, made up of William Rossetti, Holman Hunt and others, all played a role in re-establishing the significance of the renaissance aesthetic ideals, sparking what could arguably have been the beginning of the modern movement of 19th century western art. I have always had a soft spot for Greek mythology and the classical revival movements of the Pre-Raphaelites and Lord Federick Leighton. Although I have limited knowledge of renaissance art and equally poor knowledge of the Italian language and cultureI was drawn to the painting, intriqued and fascinated by the representations of what are now described as largely paganistic figures — Mercury messenger of godsthe three Graces, Venus, Cupid her sonFlora, Chloris and Zephyrus god of Clouds.
Painted in by Sandro Botticelli, the painting is believed to have been privately commissioned by Lorenzo di Pierfrancesco, a member of the Medici family who hung the painting above a sofa in an anteroom to his bedchamber. Today the painting resides in the Uffizi Gallery in Florence, Italy.
If you have seen La Primavera in person, you were most likely struck by the beauty of this 7 ft x 10 ft tempera painting on wood in which Botticelli remains true to his style: But what is it about this painting that has made it a favorite among his other works? I think it is subject matter rather than style that makes La Primavera a winner.
And as mysterious as it is beautiful, the painting seems to symbolize more than just the coming of spring. Although scholars disagree on what exactly Botticelli trying to express in La Primavera, most do agree on the identity of the figures in the painting: Standing serenely in the middle of an orange grove is Venus, Goddess of Love, splendidly framed by an array of foliage.
At the left is Mercury, Messenger of the Gods, recognizable by his winged shoes and his snake-entwined staff, gazing upward and perhaps attempting to dispel the clouds that have gathered above his head.
To the right of Venus is a scene which requires a bit more interpretation. The bluish male figure on the right is believed to be Zephyrus, God of the Winds. He is groping at a fleeing nymph clothed in a transparent gown, presumably Chloris. According to Ovid, Zephyrus took Chloris by force, later regretted his actions, and transformed her into Flora, the Goddess of Flowers, who appears to the left of Chloris.
Nearly different kinds of plants adorn the floor of the orchard. La Primavera represents a small segment of time in Renaissance history when artists felt secure enough to risk the displeasure of the Church and create works of art that were based upon pagan themes.
Because the triumph of Christianity in Europe in the 4th century AD resulted in the widespread destruction of pagan art, the great art of the Greeks and Romans had been virtually erased from public awareness. During the Renaissance, however, art patrons like the Medici began to rediscover pagan mythology through the ancient writings of Homer, Hesiod, Virgil and Ovid.
Visual evidence of Roman and particularly Greek art, however, was rare and required artists to create their own visual imagery based on these ancient classical writings. In painting Venus, Botticelli resurrected subject matter that had not been explored for nearly years.
Unfortunately, before these classical themes could be fully developed, the fanatical Christian priest Savonarola rose to power in Florence and sanctioned the Bonfire of the Vanities, in which all pagan and immoral works of art were burned in the streets. Deeply religious and easily influenced, Botticelli became a follower of Savonarola, tossing some of his own paintings into the blaze.
Fortunately, La Primavera was not among them. Although Savonarola was put to death only four years after he came to power, his ideals had a lasting effect on painters who, like Botticelli, resumed painting subjects of a Christian nature.
Was La Primavera an allegory of love, beauty and knowledge?The Birth of Venus, Sandro Botticelli The Idea Behind the Masterpiece Lorenzo Medici ordered paintings to be under the theme of Angelo Poliziano's stanzas (his favorite poet).
Information on Sandro Botticelli's masterpiece of humanist thinking, the Primavera, probably painted for a Medici family marriage around Skip to content Search for: Search.
Botticelli’s Primavera. Sandro Botticelli, La Primavera, c. , tempera on wood This is a site for information and analysis of the world of the Italian.
Botticelli's Birth Of Venus conveys an almost tangible sense of divine power. Photograph: Summerfield Press/Corbis Sandro Botticelli painted The Birth of Venus in about In La Primavera, Botticelli created a lively, interactive scene, based on several different sources including, Ovid's Fasti, a poetic calendar of Roman festivals; and De Rerum Nature (On the Nature of Things), a philosophical poem by the classical writer Titus Lucretius Carus (1st century BCE).
The painting depicts venus in her sacred grove,, with eros flying overhead. Her companions, the three graces and hermes (the roman g-d mercury.) Sandro Botticelli, Primavera.
In Florence, Botticelli was a protege of several members of the powerful Medici family.
He painted portraits of the family and many religious pictures, including the famous The Adoration of the Magi.