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Renowned Florentine painter Sandro Botticelli has carried love to ancient culture throughout his life. His bias in favor of mythological scenes affected the artist’s manner of painting. He was the first to bring the picturesque depiction of ancient Greek and Roman myths to a new level, creating large scale mythology scenes as skillfully and coloristically adeptly as producing his biblical images.
The Botticelli's Primavera was created in early 1482. This undeniable masterpiece of the Early Renaissance is rendered in a Gothic style of the early Middle Ages. The work is done in a manner that disregards the perspective. The great artist sought to render emotional and artistic expressiveness, to convey mystical meaning of the scene rather than to depict the usual forms of the real world. The work was commissioned by the head of Florence, Lorenzo the Magnificent, to decorate the premises of his relative.
Considering that the canvas should hang much higher than the eyes of a viewer, the painter created Primavera’s figures slightly elongated. The smoothness and grace of their lines, the shadows of ocher to render the natural color of the flesh, the amazing composition full of allegorical meanings allowed for the masterpiece that in time experts will call the visual embodiment of the Neoplatonic conception of the ideal beauty and the absolute love.
What is the uniqueness of Botticelli's Primavera? As the years have gone by, many interpretations have been given as to the story behind this canvas. It is believed to reflect contemporary cultural influences and express works of the Roman poet Titus Lucretius as well as ancient myths. The painting is full of philosophical meanings with many obvious and hidden nuances. Botticelli’s Primavera is an ode to an ideal woman and love. The central figure of the painting – Venus – resembles Madonna. Looking at it, we read the main message of the artist: spiritual beauty does not contradict the outer gorgeousness. They are interconnected.
Conditionally, we can divide the picture into two parts. The goddess of love is in its center, which, according to the artist, unites the figures from the right, symbolizing carnal love and material values, and figures from the left, embodying spiritual values and immaculate love. On the right, the god of the wind Zephyr chases the beautiful nymph Chloris to make her become his wife. This liaison turns the nymph into Flora, the goddess of flowers and blossoms, who marches majestically through the flowering garden in her magnificent dress.
On the left, there is an image of Mercury, symbolizing reasoning and eloquence. He guards the garden. The three Graces are depicted nearby him. They are the sublime companions of Venus. The closed circle of the dancing girls embodies chastity, platonic love and sublime enjoyment. The image of Venus in the center, a little behind the rest of the characters, placed on the background of foliage, herbs and flowers, unites all figures, personifying both spiritual feelings and terrestrial. After all, her son Cupid is ready to shoot at one of the lovely Graces.
Botticelli’s Primavera is associated with an Italian culture of the Early Renaissance. All its symbols and allegories were well understood by the people of the time.
The original painting Primavera by Botticelli is displayed at the Uffizi Gallery in Florence. The canvas with a complex philosophical meaning, unique and refined, took its place there as one of the priceless art treasures of the Renaissance.