Sandro Botticelli


SANDRO BOTTICELLI was born in Florence in 1444. At the age of fourteen he was apprenticed to Fra Filippo Lippi. He remained at this studio for eight or nine years, though it is possible that he also frequented the workshop of Verrocchio.

Early in his career he profited by the patronage of Lorenzo the Magnificent. About this time he painted the famous "Primavera" for Lorenzo's villa. In 1481 Botticelli was summoned to Rome to take part in the decoration of the Sistine Chapel at the Vatican. Thereafter he remained in Florence. Late in life he prepared an elaborate series of drawings illustrating Dante. These constitute the most extensive collection of original drawings from the hand of a Renaissance master.

It has often been suggested that the painters of the Renaissance had some contact with the art of the Orient, yet there is no proof that examples of Eastern art were brought to Italy so early. While it is true that Botticelli's use of linear rhythms is strikingly similar to a practice of most Chinese painting, there is no good reason to believe that he ever saw any of it. It is safe to imagine, though, that if he had, he would have loved it.

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