Sandro Botticelli (Florence 1445

Sandro Botticelli (Florence 1445-1510)
• The Ancient Myth : La Primavera (1477-8)
• A Humanist Venus, at the center of the composition, is the
allegory of Goodness, Love as Culture and Civilization
• Zephir on the right, blows, giving Clori, the Nymph, the gift of
creating flowers
• She is transformed in Flora, La Primavera, queen of flowers
• On the left Mercury (Greek Hermes), recognized by his symbolic
wand and his winged sandals
• The three female figures are the Graces, who follow Venus. In
Greek mythology, Spring was dedicated to them
• Above flies Cupid, god of Love, shooting an arrow to one of the
• The setting is an idealized Nature, where flowers and fruits are
present at the same time
• The composition is based on a central view of which Venus
is the focal point
• The groupings are at each side of her figure
• The curving of the branches forms a green niche around the
• The lines of the composition depart from her figure,
presented as the world’s most powerful force: Love, Beauty
and Virtue, fundamental Humanist values
• Botticelli uses a masterly flow of lines. Lines, which
envelops and veil the human body, are the instrument of the
artist’s expression
The Portrait
• Benozzo Gozzoli (1420-97)
• Il corteo dei Magi
Most refined example of political propaganda
The young Lorenzo is the protagonist
Lorenzo looks directly into the viewer’s eye
In the Renaissance perceptive code this is typical of the
portrait: it expresses the “ego” the will power and the
strong personality
Leonardo da Vinci (Vinci 1452 - Cioux1519)
• Artist and scientist, tended both to the understanding of reality
and to the fantastic transformation of scientific observations
• Passionate explorer of Nature, he studied the way light affects the
environment, the human figure and the landscape
• The Renaissance artist preferred to locate his figure within an
architectural space. Leonardo discovers the Atmospheric Effect
• It is an impalpable element, made of light, air, color, humidity that
is evident in the natural, open space
• Leonardo locates his figures in an open landscape or in front of
open windows
• Realizes the illusion of depth through the interplay of light and
shade, and through a gradual chiaroscuro present at all planes of
the composition
La Vergine delle Rocce
• Realized for Ludovico il Moro (Milan)
• The figures of Jesus, Mary and little Saint John are located in an
unusual space: a grotto
• Aim of Leonardo was to represent a pristine natural environment of
which the human figure would be an integral part
• The architecture is formed by the rocks, stalactites and stalagmites,
while on the ground a selection of carefully painted plants (that
Leonardo had included in his botanical studies)
• The composition forms an ideal pyramid with its peak above the
Madonna’s head
• The chiaroscuro informs the entire composition: the Sfumato
• It consists of a plastic relief of the bodies that he obtains, delicately,
by eliminating the hard contours, and by diffusing the form in the
• The ideal of beauty for Leonardo is not the vivid light that
sculpts the forms, but the softness of shade, the diffusing
effect that caresses and veils them
• The message does not have a religious content
• He does not tell a religious story to educate
• He expresses his artistic vision of the world, in which,
man, nature, sacred and mundane are one
• In the natural environment plants and Nature emerge from
the shadows, feebly illuminated by a soft light
• The rocks dissolve in the background in the pure lightness
of the air
• The rocky space is irregular, an antithesis to the clear and
regular spaces of the Quattrocento paintings