Born in 1445, Sandro Botticelli was an important painter during the Italian Renaissance. He was first apprenticed to a goldsmith but, when it became clear that Botticelli preferred painting, he became the apprentice of Fra Filippo Lippi. Lippi was a master in his time and he taught Botticelli a lot.
From Lippi, Botticelli learned to paint on wood panel and on fresco. He also learned how to paint perspective (look at the Story of Nastagio degli Onesti) and how to paint flowing clothing. Botticelli even used pale colors similar to those used by Lippi.
By 1470, Botticelli was a master in his own right. People happily paid him to paint masterpieces for them or their churches. He even painted some panels for the Sistine Chapel. Michelangelo outshone him there, though, as you’ll remember from an earlier post.
Botticelli is known for the dreamy look of the people (and gods, goddess, and angels) in his paintings. What I really love about Botticelli is the way he painted faces. Each face is different but full of life and beautiful in its own way. Look at Portrait of a Young Woman. The look at Madonna and Child with Angel (below). I can’t stop looking at the Madonna's face.
Botticelli painted a lot of religious figures and scenes. One example is the painting shown above. Also, look at the Adoration of the Magi below. You see Mary presenting the baby Jesus to the Magi (the three wise men). That man in the brown robe on the right hand side is believed to be Botticelli.
He also painted many mythological scenes. Look at the Birth of Venus (below). Venus was the Roman goddess of love and beauty. She was believed to have been born from the sea. By placing her on a seashell, Botticelli shows this in his painting.
Botticelli did not paint as much in his old age and after he died in 1510 he was mostly forgotten. His paintings were not moved from the churches or homes where they were originally placed until much later. He didn’t become popular again until the end of the 1800s but as soon as his paintings were brought to the attention of the public people couldn’t get enough.
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