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  1. Botticelli Comparative Civilizations 12 Kevin J. Benoy

  2. Early Life • Born Alessandro di Mariano Filipepi, in 1445 in Florence, he is best known by his nickname – Botticelli – or “little barrel.” • Legend has it that his older brother was hugely obese and called “Botticella” – keg. • Little brother therefore gained the lesser title.

  3. Self-Portrait of Lippi – Barbadori Altarpiece Apprenticeship & Training • Vasari writes that he was originally trained as a goldsmith by his brother, Antonio. • He was later apprenticed to the painter Fra Filippo Lippi.

  4. His Earliest DatedWork Dated 1470 – this is Botticelli’s earliest known work, exhibiting something of the style of his master, Fra Filippo Lippi.

  5. A Florentine Master • By 1470, Botticelli was master of his own workshop in Florence. • Chief among his patrons was the Medici family. • Botticelli found himself a part of the glittering court of Lorenzo the Magnificent.

  6. Adoration of the Magi • His painting, Adoration of the Magi, includes portraits of several of the Medici family – as well as a self-portrait. • Botticelli is the brown-clad figure, standing in the bottom right hand corner

  7. Primavera • Botticelli’s characteristic style is clearly evident in this work. • His focus is on the foreground, with little concern for depth of field behind it. The setting is mere backdrop for the action in the foreground. • Figures are modeled exquisitely, with an ethereal beauty. • Above all else, line predominates.

  8. Primavera • Inspired by Renaissance neo-Platonic thought, the painting is deeply symbolic. The theme is Spring, with figures of Venus, Cupid, Zephyrus, Mercury, Chloris, and the Three graces adorning it. • Pagan themes are depicted in a painting for a Christian home. • Unfortunately the message is obscure. On one level it is certainly about the coming of Spring – but beyond this, the experts differ widely.

  9. The Birth of Venus • This is another neo-platonic work – and certainly his most famous painting.

  10. An Iconic Image • Along with the Mona Lisa and Michelangelo’s David, the figure of Venus from this painting may be one of the world’s most familiar images.

  11. The Birth of Venus • This is the Pagan tale of Venus’ birth. • Cronos castrated Uranus, casting his genitals into the sea. Out of the white foam, Aphrodite (Venus) was born. • In this image she is driven Zephyrus – the West Wind -- and Chloris (or Aura), to the beach of Paphos, where Horae, goddess of the seasons, prepares to dress her.

  12. Venus and Mars • Love triumphs over aggression in this, one of Botticelli’s greatest neo-platonic works. • Sister Wendy Beckett’s treatment of the painting is a highlight of her Story of Painting.

  13. Detail from Botticelli’s Scenes From the Life of Moses Botticelli and the Sistine Chapel • Pope Sixtus IV summoned Botticelli to Rome in 1481. • Along with a host of other Renaissance greats, Botticelli would contribute to the decoration of the chapel where Pope’s are chosen.

  14. A Follower of Savonarola • Perhaps the strangest decision of Botticelli’s life was his support for Girolamo Savonarola. • This fanatical Dominican monk led Florence for four years after the ignominious surrender of Florence to the French by the Medici. • His puritanical rule is best know for his making sodomy a capital crime and for his “bonfire of the vanities” – the destruction of books and art – including Botticelli’s works!

  15. Savonarola’s execution (Anon) Late Works • Savonarola was ultimately garotted and burned by the people of Florence. • However, the religious fervour that he sparked in Botticelli remained with him and is evident in his later works.

  16. Late Works – The Mystical Nativity • I, Sandro, painted this picture', he says, 'at the end of the year 1500 in the troubles of Italy'; and he goes on to state that, after a time foretold by St John, the Devil will be chained and 'we shall see him trodden down, as in this picture‘ Kenneth Clark, Looking at Pictures

  17. Late Works – The Mystical Nativity • This Christmas scene is about spiritual struggle. • Botticelli’s deep religious conviction is evident in this work. • The painter even reverts to the Medieval technique of painting key religious figures larger than others around them.

  18. Portrait of a young woman – perhaps Simonetta Vespucci Botticelli • Though Botticelli’s fame waned for many centuries, his position as one of the Renaissance’s greatest painters revived in the 19th century and his reputation today is as one of the greatest painters of all time.

  19. Finis