Sandro Botticelli

Sandro Botticelli

Sandro Botticelli
Sandro Botticelli
c.1445 - 1510

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Place of Birth: Tuscany
Where Botticelli Worked: Florence, Rome
Type of Art: Oil painting, Fresco, Tempera
Most Famous Artworks: Birth of Venus, Primavera

Biography of Sandro Botticelli

Page Symbol for Artist pagesAlessandro di Mariano di Vanni Filipepi, whom we know as Sandro Botticelli, was born c.1444 in Florence, Italy. His father was Mariano Filipepi (a tanner) of Florence, and although not a lot is known of Botticelli's early life, it is known that his father was the one who gave him his early education. It is known that if Botticelli liked something, he would put his mind to it until he mastered it. He had no interest in the usual educational subjects like reading and writing and arithmetic. Because of this, his father placed him with a goldsmith and it was here that Botticelli became interested in painting and set his mind to learning all about the art. When his father realized his son's interest, he arranged for him to go to the studio of Fra Filippo of the Carmine to study. Here he flourished.

Even as a young painter Botticelli gained fame through the excellence of his work and he was given several commissions. His work was commissioned by many of the great Houses of Florence, which included the Medici and the Vespucci. The figures that he painted could be described as thoughtful and melancholy as opposed to the style that was more popular at the time -- for instance, the 'muscular' works of Michelangelo, full of energy and action.

As an artist in FLorence, he created many beautiful works for the great families of Florence, such as the Medici. One painting in particular The Adoration of the Magi, brought him acclaim that reached beyond Florence. Because of this noted work, it was to follow that Pope Sixtus commissioned Botticelli to paint a chapel in his palace in Rome.

He was to do other projects in Rome, and he was paid very well for them, but as was his fashion, he was not careful with his money and squandered it away. After this he returned to Florence.

His life in Florence became decidedly different, where after illustrating Dante's Inferno, he adhered to the following of Girolamo Savonarola. His brother Simone was an avid follower who joined the Dominican order. It is thought that Botticelli voluntarily sacrificed many of his pagan drawings to Savonarola's Bonfire of the Vanities. During this part of his life he abandoned his work all together while fixating on two uncommissioned paintings inspired by Savonarola's preaching: The Mystic Crucifixion and The Mystic Nativity. The result of his not painting was no income. If it were not for the financial support he received from wealthy past patrons like Lorenzo de Medici he would have perished of hunger a much younger man than when he actually died.

In his advanced years, he became decrepit and had to walk with two crutches. He died at the age of 65 in 1510. He was buried in the church of Ognissanti, Florence.

Artwork of Botticelli
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young women venus by sandro botticelli

Venus and the Graces

Louvre, Paris

birth of venus by sandro botticelli

Birth of Venus

Uffizi Gallery, Florence

adonna of the pomegranate by sandro botticelli

Madonna of the Pomegranate, also known as the Virgin and Child with Seven Angels
Uffizi Gallery, Florence

annunciation by sandro botticelli


Uffizi Gallery, Florence

primavera by sandro botticelli


Uffizi Gallery, Florence
Madonna of the Book
Madonna of the Book

Poldi Pezzoli Museum, Milan

Madonna of the Magnificat Calumny of Apelles
Madonna of the Magnificat

Uffizi Gallery, Florence
Calumny of Apelles

Uffizi Gallery, Florence

Mystical Nativity Adoration of the Magi (Sandro Botticelli)
The Mystical Nativity

National Gallery of Art, London
Adoration of the Magi

Uffizi Gallery, Florence

Page symbol for Artist pagesWhere Botticelli's Artwork is Displayed

Botticelli's artwork is very widely distributed throughout the Western world. You can find his paintings in many museums and churches in Italy. His work is also in many galleries in Europe, the U.S., and South America:

- Uffizi Gallery, Florence
- Accademia Gallery, Florence
- Pitti Palace, Florence
- Ognissanti church, Florence
- Sistine Chapel, Vatican Museums, Rome
- Poldi Pezzoli Museum, Milan, Italy
- National Gallery, London
- British Museum, London
- Victoria and Albert Museum, London
- Louvre, Paris
- National Gallery, Washington DC
- Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York
- Alte Pinakothek, Munich
- Gemäldegalerie, Berlin
- Gemäldegalerie Alte Meister, Dresden, Germany
- Rijksmuseum, Amsterdam

Page symbol for Artist pagesTrivia About Sandro Botticelli:

- Botticelli was said to be a great practical joker. He would enlist the cooperation of others in order to make the jokes seem all the more real. One such practical joke involved one of his pupils named Biagio. Botticelli enlisted the help of a patron who bought a piece of artwork, and together they changed the picture so that it was different each time Biagio saw it...Biagio thought that he must be mad.

- Botticelli once had "neighbor" problems and he dealt with the situation in a unique way. The neighbor was a weaver and when he moved next door to Botticelli, he installed several large and noisy looms. They were so noisy that Botticelli found it very difficult to work. He approached his neighbor and asked him to remedy this somehow, but the neighbor told Botticelli that he could do as he wished in his own home. Botticelli decided to remedy things himself....he built a very large, high wall between their homes and then he placed a large and seemingly unstable rock on top of the wall. When his neighbor expressed concern that the rock might fall on his home, Botticelli responded that he could do as he wished in his own home as well. They came to an amicable agreement.

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