2 thoughts on “how does sandro botticelli’s painting la primavera reflect renaissance?

  1. Hi! Although he was one of the most individual painters of the Italian Renaissance, Sandro Botticelli remained little known for centuries after his death. Then his work, part of the Early Renaissance, was rediscovered late in the 19th century by a group of artists in England known as the Pre-Raphaelites. Since then his work has been seen to represent the linear grace of Early Renaissance painting—the golden age.

    The most original of his paintings are those illustrating Greek and Roman legends. The best known are the two large panels Primavera and The Birth of Venus, the most familiar masterpieces of Florentine art.

    http://www.ibiblio.org/wm/paint/auth/botticelli/

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sandro_Botticelli

    These paintings are mythologies, not of the capricious Ovidian sort, but, it has been suggested, ones that embody the moral and metaphysical Neoplatonic ideas that were then fashionable in the Medici circles. Pure visual poetry, they are stylistically the quintessence of Botticelli: there is a deliberate denial of rational spatial construction and no attempt to model solid-looking figures; instead the figures float on the forward plane of the picture against a decorative landscape backdrop, and form, defined by outline, is willfully modified to imbue that outline with expressive power.

    http://www.artchive.com/artchive/B/botticelli.html

    You will find much more information about Botticelli and examples of his paintings at the links provided. Various photographs of his work are marked as permissible to use from the following link:

    http://www.artcyclopedia.com/artists/botticelli_sandro.html

    Hope this helps you. Best wishes!

  2. The main Renaissance theme that Primavera reflects is the rebirth of classical literature and myths. See the section on ovid below.

    One of the painting techniques characteristic of the Renaissance is the ideal depiction of subjects as apposed to naturalistic images.

    The actual commissioning of the work by the Medici reflects the Renaissance’s slow change with regard to patronage. The biggest patron remained the church but the Renaissance saw the rich merchant classes commissioning work that was not necessarily devotional in subject matter.

    The Primavera is a painting by the Italian Renaissance painter Sandro Botticelli, c. 1482. It is housed in Uffizi Gallery of Florence.

    In 1551, Vasari wrote that picture which according to him announced the arrival of spring (Primavera in Italian) was in the Medici villa in Castello, near villa de Petraia. In 1477, the estate was acquired by Lorenzo di Pierfrancesco de’ Medici, who was a second cousin of Lorenzo the Magnificent. This is why it was long assumed that the Primavera, as the painting continues to be called, was painted for the fourteen-year-old Lorenzo di Pierfrancesco when the villa was bought. An inventory dating from 1499, which was not discovered until 1975, lists the property of Lorenzo di Pierfrancesco and his brother Giovanni and states that in the 15th century the Primavera had been displayed in Florence’s city palace. The painting decorated an anteroom attached to Lorenzo di Pierfrancesco’s chambers.

    Such large-format paintings were not unusual in the private residences of affluent families. The Primavera is, however, significantly illustrative of Renaissance classicistic iconography and form, depicting classical gods almost naked and life-size and a complex philosophical symbolism requiring deep knowledge of Renaissance literature and syncretism to interpret. While some of the figures were inspired by ancient sculptures, these were not direct copies but translated into Botticelli’s own, idiosyncratic formal language: slender, highly-idealized figures whose bodies at times seem slightly too attenuated and presage the elegant, courtly style of 16th-century Mannerism.

    Venus is standing in the centre of the picture, set slightly back from the other figures. Above her, Cupid is aiming one of his arrows of love at the Charites (Three Graces), who are elegantly dancing a rondel. The Grace on the right side has the face of Caterina Sforza, also painted by Botticelli in a famous portrait in the Lindenau Museum as Catherine of Alexandria. The garden of Venus, the goddess of love, is guarded on the left by Mercury, who stretches out his hand to touch the clouds. Mercury, who is lightly clad in a red cloak covered with flames, is wearing a helmet and carrying a sword, clearly characterizing him as the guardian of the garden. The messenger of the gods is also identified by means of his winged shoes and the caduceus staff which he used to drive two snakes apart and make peace; Botticelli has depicted the snakes as winged dragons. From the right, Zephyrus, the god of the winds, is forcefully pushing his way in, in pursuit of the nymph Chloris. Next to her walks Flora, the goddess of spring, who is scattering flowers.

    Various interpretations of the scene exist. For instance, the Primavera was also read as a political image: Love (Amor) would be Rome (“Roma” in Italian); the three Graces Pisa, Naples and Genoa; Mercury Milan; Flora Florence; May Mantua; Cloris and Zephyr Venice and Bolzano (or Arezzo and Forli).

    Leaving aside the suppositions there remains the profoundly humanistic nature of the painting, a reflection of contemporary cultural influences and an expression of many contemporary texts.

    One source for this scene is Ovid’s Fasti, a poetic calendar describing Roman festivals. For the month of May, Flora tells how she was once the nymph Chloris, and breathes out flowers as she does so. Aroused to a fiery passion by her beauty, Zephyr, the god of the wind, follows her and forcefully takes her as his wife. Regretting his violence, he transforms her into Flora, his gift gives her a beautiful garden in which eternal spring reigns. Botticelli is depicting two separate moments in Ovid’s narrative, the erotic pursuit of Chloris by Zephyr and her subsequent transformation into Flora. This is why the clothes of the two women, who also do not appear to notice each other, are being blown in different directions. Flora is standing next to Venus and scattering roses, the flowers of the goddess of love. In his philosophical didactic poem De Rerum Natura the classical writer Lucretius celebrated both goddesses in a single spring scene. As the passage also contains other figures in Botticelli’s group, it is probably one of the main sources for the painting: “Spring-time and Venus come, And Venus’ boy, the winged harbinger, steps on before and hard on Zephyr’s foot-prints Mother Flora, Sprinkling the ways before them, filleth all With colours and with odours excellent.”

    Hope this helps.

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