Sandro Botticelli (1445 – 1510) Biography
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(1445 – 1510)
Sandro Botticelli was one of the greatest painters of the Florentine Renaissance. He was born in
the city of Florence. His full name is Alessandro di Mariano di Filipepi but he is better known as
S. Botticelli. Botticelli’s name is derived from that of his elder brother Giovanni, a pawnbroker
who was called Botticello (“The Little Barrel”).
S. Botticelli’s father was a tanner who apprenticed Sandro to a goldsmith after his schooling was
finished. But, since Sandro preferred painting, his father then placed him under Filippo Lippi.
By 1470 S. Botticelli was established in Florence as an independent master with his own
workshop. He was a prosperous and respected painter. He never married.
S. Botticelli was buried in the Church of Ognissanti in Florence.
S. Botticelli created a great number of paintings. Madonna and Child with an Angel, The
Annunciation, The Birth of Christ, The Portrait of a Young Woman etc. are among them.
At the beginning S. Botticelli established a reputation as a portraitist. The early portraits typically
show their subjects in a three-quarter view, a new form of portrait which had not become
widespread in Florence until about 1470. For example, The Portrait of a Man with a Medal of
Cosimo the Elder (1474).
The most well-known S. Botticelli’s paintings are The Birth of Venus and Primavera (Allegory of
Spring). They were painted for the home of Lorenzo di Pierfrancesco de’ Medici.
Amerigo Vespucci, Florentine merchant and explorer-navigator, introduced young S. Botticelli to
Fra Filippo Lippi who was one of the most outstanding Florentine painters of the Early
Renaissance. Probably in 1462 S. Botticelli was apprenticed to Fra Filippo Lippi.
First paintings made by S. Botticelli looked like Fra Filippo Lippi’s. For example, The Virgin
Later on S. Botticelli worked and studied in a studio of a well-known sculptor and painter
Andrea del Verrocchio. Leonardo da Vinci studied there at the same time too. These two great
Florentines have also influenced on S. Botticelli. In this period of time S. Botticelli created
Madonna of the Rosegarden, Madonna and Child and Two Angels.
Simonetta Vespucci, Marco Vespucci's wife, was S. Botticelli’s muse. S. Botticelli thought that
she was an ideal woman and depicted her on such paintings as The Birth of Venus, Primavera,
S. Botticelli was in good relationships with the Medici family, that ruled Florence,
during most of the period from 1434 to 1737, except for two brief intervals (from 1494 to 1512
and from 1527 to 1530). S. Botticelli created several portraits of Giuliano de' Medici.
S. Botticelli was one of the followers of Italian Christian preacher, reformer, and martyr
Girolamo Savonarola. He influenced on S. Botticelli's life and paintings. It is known S. Botticelli
burnt one of his earlier paintings then.
Nowadays the Uffizi Gallery’s magnificent collection of Botticelli's works includes many of his
Deimling, B., Botticelli.: TASCHEN, - 2004
Legouix, S., Sloman, S., Botticelli.: Chaucer,- 2004
Lightbown, R., Sandro Botticelli: Life and Work.: London, - 1989
The national gallery
Web gallery of art
S. Botticelli's self portrait
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