Works of Botticelli
Botticelli descended from a humble family and developed a sentimental nature reflected in his work. His own style emphasizes delicacy as a means of expression, thus avoiding the characteristic realism of the time.
He learned to work as a goldsmith and some of his works reflect this in the details of the exquisite jewels with which he adorns them. By 1470 he had his own workshop and a place in the circle of the Medicis, his patrons, for whom he produced Neoplatonic works of monumental complexity and far from the religious theme, a novelty for the time.
In 1481 he was called to Rome to decorate the Sistine Chapel of the Vatican together with other greats artists. On his return to Florence he continued his activity as a court painter and lived through the expulsion of the Medici, the reform and the austere thinking became embedded in society and he was in a deep religious crisis, yet he produced works of greater solemnity and pleonasm with a high degree of maturity. He died in Florence in 1510 with a large inventory, which is highly valued today, even if it was not so at the time.
10 most famous works of Botticelli
1. The Trials of Moses-1481/1482-Vatican City Sistine Chapel
“Trials of Moses” is one of the frescoes that the artist painted for the Sistine Chapel. The splendid close-up of the work is captured by two female figures in the typical format with which Botticelli described women of his time, but the superb and monumental composition is extremely complex as it places the woman in the middle of the picture. In unity, different episodes of the transcendental path of Moses, the piece decorates the left side wall which is destined to narrate the facts of the savior of the Jewish people and can be read in parallel with the history of Christ which are narrated on the right side.
2. Allegory of Spring 1477/1478-Uffizi Gallery, Florence, Italy
It is considered one of the creations of the artist with the greatest influence on universal painting. Moreover, its monumentality makes it one of the first great works of a profane nature of absolute magnanimity. The characters are depicted from the artist’s own language with a variegated individuality, the presence of Flora, the emissary of spring, earned him the title, his theme alluding to the myth and fable in a composition of figures stylized by an impeccable line, the order is apparent in the midst of a wealth of elements, and the attention to detail advocates abundant subtlety and grace.
3. The Birth of Venus-1482/1485- Uffizi Gallery, Florence, Italy
Painted after his stay in Rome, it is another of the neo-platonic works that Boticelli produced under the complacency of the Medici. Homer, Ovid, Poliziano and others were literary resources he used to idealize the figure of the Goddess of Love and her advent, and despite the disproportions presented by the sensual deity, he managed to establish the model of the Renaissance woman. In the midst of an exalted nature, the artist sublimates the character and accompanies her with other mythical figures to build a magnificently solemn ensemble, accentuated with thick lines, elegant lighting and a candid palette.
4. Venus and Mars-1483-London National Gallery, United Kingdom,
Although there will not be many on this theme, Venus and Mars nourish the artist’s mythological inventory, its fine splendor is such that it has become one of the best known and highest level non-sacred works, and can be rubbed shoulders with other great paintings of a religious nature. The Venus, elegantly described in the Quattrocento style, dominates the scene with a haughty gesture of glory over the defeated Mars that rests undisturbed from its deep sleep, the playful satyrs cheer the scene with mischief and emphasize the magnitude of the victory. An allegory of how love prevails over war.
5. Adoration of the Magi-1475-Uffizi Gallery, Florence, Italy
The artist had previously tackled this theme, however, this version is superior to the previous ones; the unity of the compositional set is evident and it captures certain dramatism, the distribution in the piece is balanced and the colors are boldly vivid, as are the effects of the well-achieved ruins that house the sacred family. The expressions of the characters are formidable and among them he places important personalities of the time to represent the members of the different courts, even Boticelli himself can be seen among the people attending the epiphany.
6. Temptations of Christ-1498/1500-Vatican City Sistine Chapel
This is another of the artist’s frescoes that can be seen in the Sistine Chapel. It is located in the second panel of the right-hand side wall and is intended to tell the stories of Jesus’ life, in this case, the one referred to in the Gospel according to Matthew, so it represents an important work that shows his artistic genius. In the complex ensemble Botticelli distributes the vain attempts of Satan to compromise Christ and sacrifice salvation, each episode is brilliantly portrayed and individualized, however, the compositional mastery of the artist achieves unity in the work.
7. The Calumny of Apelles-1495-Uffizi Gallery, Florence, Italy
His last mythological theme is a superb compositional set, expressive and faithful to detail. In a palace, several characters interact representing different dimensions of the human condition; on one hand, the naked truth raises its hand while the dark compunction observes it. A naked imploring young man is dragged by the hair by slander, flattered in turn, by imposture and perfidy, while a ragged personification of hate takes her by the hand, this one, with the other points to a king with donkey ears who listens to ignorance and suspicion extending his hand to him.
8. Stories of Virginia-1500/1504- Academy Carrara of Bergamo, Italy
A formidably achieved set in which he resorts to methods already explored in previous works such as the frescoes for the Sistine Chapel, where the various scenes of the same narrative happen simultaneously; in this work, he does so to represent the story of Virginia who, after the heartless attitude of Appius Claudius of wanting to make her his slave and take advantage of her, is murdered by her father as an option to claim her freedom. The evident passions of the characters, the impressive achievements of architectural perspective and a faithful narrative, make it as superior as the reasons for its creation.
9. Madonna of the Magnificat-1481-Uffizi Gallery, Florence, Italy
A portentous piece not only because of the amount of gold leaf used, but also because of the rich and meticulous details on the clothes and faces of the characters, as well as the fine gold work with which he decorated the iridescent image he recreated of the Virgin. In the vibrant composition, rich in style, color, beauty and spiritual light; the child takes his mother’s hand to illuminate her as he writes the Hymn to St. John the Baptist, patron of Florence. On the other page, the first words of the hymn to Mary are read, with which he names the work.
10. The Abyss of Hell-1481-Vatican Apostolic Library
The artist’s catalogue is nourished by this unusual representation of hell that he made for the Medicis; the literary sources used were Dante Alighieri’s descriptions of the underworld in the Divine Comedy. The work, which was used as the cover for a collection of 102 drawings, began in 1480 and took a long time to be completed. It ended up being an extraordinary creation of famous levels, since it resorted to detail as a technique to describe each circle of darkness and its nooks and crannies in an exceptional manner, and to surprise with mastery the exceptional nature of these.
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