Original name ALESSANDRO DI MARIANO FILIPEPI (born 1445, Florence
[Italy] – died May 17, 1510, Florence), Florentine early
Birth of Venus (c. 1485) and
Primavera (1477–78) are
often said to epitomize for modern viewers the spirit of the
Renaissance. His ecclesiastical commissions included work for all the
major churches of Florence and for the Sistine Chapel in Rome. His
name is derived from his elder brother Giovanni, a pawnbroker, who was
called Il Botticello (“The Little Barrel”).
Although he was one of the most individual
painters of the Italian Renaissance, Sandro Botticelli remained little known
for centuries after his death. Then his work was rediscovered late in the
19th century by a group of artists in England known as the Pre-Raphaelites.
Born Alessandro di Mariano Filipepi in Florence in 1445, Botticelli was
apprenticed to a goldsmith. Later he was a pupil of the painter Fra Filippo
Lippi. He spent all his life in Florence except for a visit to Rome in
1481–82. There he painted wall frescoes in the Sistine Chapel of the Vatican.
In Florence, Botticelli was a protege of several members of the powerful
Medici family. He painted portraits of the family and many religious
pictures, including the famous
The Adoration of the Magi.
The most original of his paintings are those illustrating Greek and Roman
legends. The best known are the two large panels
The Birth of Venus.
The image accompanying this article is a probable self-portrait of
Botticelli in his Adoration of the Magi, painted in 1475.