Botticellis Spring

Botticelli’s Spring The renaissance was a time of wonderful art, though one artist in particular stood out, that was Sandro Botticelli. This man created some of the most renowned pieces of art in European history; one great painting was Allegory of Spring. This mythological artwork was an amazing change from the normalcy of past times. Botticellis Allegory of Spring, painted in 1482, is one of the most remarkable and astounding pieces of renaissance art with the wondrous symbols, style, story of the piece and also the intriguing history of Botticelli himself. Botticelli is considered one of the greatest artists of the Renaissance; one of his finest works was Allegory of Spring. Botticelli, originally named Alessandro di Mariano Filiapepi, was born in Florence, Italy in 1445. He was nicknamed “Botticelli”; meaning little barrel, this name was originally bestowed upon his older brother but for some reason passed on to and adopted by his little brother (4:68).

He was first an apprentice to a goldsmith, though at about age thirteen or fourteen he stopped training and traded to painting. He was an apprentice to Filippo Lippi. This mans style formed many of Botticellis early works. Botticelli also worked with painter and engraver Antonio del Pollaiuolo. Botticelli had his own workshop by 1470; there he spent most of his life working for many great families in Florence at the time, especially the Medici family. As one of the artist in the court of Lorenzo de Medici, he was immensely influenced by its Christian Neoplatonism (5:7).

With this in mind he tried to reconcile classical and Christian views. Though working for himself a lot he was also commissioned by many others. He joined Perugino, Ghirlandaio, and Rosselli from 1481 for one year to paint frescos for the Sistine Chapel. Botticelli worked with some consequential artist of the Florentine Renaissance, which would shape and change his style of painting. Botticellis works are seen as a landmark of high renaissance. He created some of the greatest works of this time. His early pieces were mostly of the virgin and child (1:78).

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He first made a name for himself when in 1470 he was public commissioned to paint Fortitude, which would be hung in the Trade law court in Florence. One of his first real milestones was the creation of the Adoration of the Magi, which he painted around 1473-1475. This painting veered away from some of his earlier more morbid content. This was one of the first pieces commissioned by the Medici family, who in this case gave many guidelines for the young Botticelli to follow. Botticelli would go on to paint Portrait of an unknown man with a medallion of Cosimo the Elder, in the same time period (5:42). Then he would create one of the most well known Allegory of Spring, quite different subject matter from times before with the conceptions of mythological characters and a defined plot.

Then in 1481 he went to Rome to work on frescos of the Sistine Chapel ordered by Pope Sixtus IV. After this he went on to create the sister painting to Allegory of Spring, Birth of Venus. Botticelli continued to create heroic works of art portraying many different stories and characters. He painted an array of religious artwork as well as portraits and mythological pieces. He was a well-rounded painter who will influence the art world for centuries after his death in 1510.

Botticellis style of painting was a combination of the influences of his teacher, but the time and his own creative energy help determine much of his work. Botticelli was an apprentice to Lippi who had a huge influence and him defined many of his early works. Lippi taught Botticelli the concept of drawing outlines, this was to create the effect of transparency, and to give the painting a certain fluidity and harmony (2:69). A viewer can see this in many of Botticellis work including Allegory of Spring. Botticelli was also influenced by the Pollaiolo brother whom he also works with. These men taught him emotive force and also the usage of color.

An obvious idea, which can be viewed in many of Botticellis allegorical paintings, including Allegory of Spring, is the greater amount of luminosity, as well as a softer look of pride (2:70). Botticelli wanted to accentuate the elegance of the pose and the decoration of the characters also. This artist held a great adhesion to the neo-platonic style of Marsilio Ficino and Agnolo Poliziano. Not only was Botticelli influenced by certain people of this time he was also influenced by the early Greek and Roman culture, especially the ancient mythology. This is the basis of the work Allegory of Spring. The entire story line, characters, and style were partially picked up by these people. This was a concept new and different at this time, Botticelli did not only use it in this one painting it was also widely present in the equally as famous Birth of Venus.

Venus, the Roman goddess of love and beauty, is featured in both of these painting, representing the likeliness of beauty and love as well as ancient Roman culture and religion to Botticelli. The concept of Roman and Greek mythology entwined with some of Botticellis Christian ideas creates what many scholars call Christian Neoplatonism. This would have a huge impact on the style that Botticelli designed for this work. Neoplatonism is the backbone in this work by one of the most thought provoking painters of the Renaissance. Botticellis notion of replacing the normal Christian-Hierarchy-Portrait painting was remarkable (3:1).

This concept of Christian Neoplatonism was new and conventional; Neoplatonism is the collective designation for the philosophical and religious doctrines of the classical pagan philosophy. These theories of knowledge are mainly based on the ideas on explanations of Plato. Neoplatonism seeks to locate the One, or God in Christian Neoplatonism, in the finite world and human experience. This was and is a complex and confusing way of thinking however it was this that Botticelli based many, including Allegory of Spring, on. Th …