Sandro Filipepi was born in Florence in 1445. The son of a tanner, as a youth he entered the studio of the painter Filippo Lippi and adopted the nickname of his elder brother, Botticello (“small cask”). By age twenty- five he already had his own studio. After Painting many images of the Virgin and Child, he came into his own with elegant, harmonious paintings of great originality.
Botticelli’s early paintings, such as his Fortitude and his St. Sebastian, were admired by the cultivated Medici family that had ruled Florence since the beginning of the century, and he soon became the favorite painter and friend of the head of the family, Lorenzo de’ Medici. Between 1478 and 1485, he painted Primavera (Spring) and The Birth of Venus, allegorical celebrations of beauty inspired by ancient mythology and the antique civilizations so highly admired by the Italian humanists.
In 1481, Botticelli was summoned to Rome by Pope Sixtus IV to paint three frescoes in the Sistine Chapel, two scenes from the Life of Moses, and one from the Life of Christ. When the artist returned to Florence the following year his prestige had increased considerably, and he was now offered a great number of commissions. During this period he painted many exquisite Madonnas, which are among his best known works. He also produced a superb series of drawings illustrating the Divine Comedy, the great epic poem written by Dante in the previous century.
In 1492, Botticelli was much affected by the death of Lorenzo de’ Medici. Two years later Lorenzo’s son Piero de’ Medici was exiled from the city, which was now riven by religious and political tensions.
Article courtesy of ‘The beginners guide to Art’ , translated from the French by John Goodman, ediited by Brigitte Govignon. The article was brought to you by Blue Horizon Printing, experts in quality canvas prints.