Botticellis Allegory of Spring Essay

This essay has a total of 2038 words and 8 pages.

Botticellis Allegory of Spring



Botticelli’s Allegory of 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. Botticelli’s 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 man’s style formed many of
Botticelli’s 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.

Botticelli’s 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).
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.

Botticelli’s 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 Botticelli’s 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
Botticelli’s 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 Botticelli’s 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.
Botticelli’s 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. This concept really came into play during the third century of
Rome. It is partly based on the Greek mythological logic and religion with many newer
Christian aspects added upon it. This is an ever-changing subject with many different
sects of views and new ideas forming all the time (3:2).

Botticelli’s Allegory of Spring was painted in 1480 with tempura on canvas. This
pre-Christian piece was one of the largest panel paintings with mythological themes. This
painting has been in the Uffizi art museum in Florence, Italy since 1919 and was recently
restored in 1982. Botticelli painted this in honor of the marriage of Lorenzo Pierfranceso
Continues for 4 more pages >>




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