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Sandro Boticelli - Primavera

by Alexandra Tuschka

This famous painting by Sandro Botticelli shows an unusual combination of people and has a strong connection with his native Florence. It was probably commissioned by Lorenzo di Pierfrancesco de' Medici and intended for a room next to the wedding chamber of the family residence.

Mercury, messenger of the gods, scares away the clouds with his staff, the caduceus, so as not to spoil the scene with bad weather. To the right of it the three Graces dance in the usual Ringelrein. Cupid, meanwhile, aims his arrow at their center. His mother Venus is the most present person in the picture. In the center and frontally she lowers her head to one side. She wears here the typical headgear of married Florentine women. This is seen as an allusion to a wedding theme. The women, with narrow faces and necks, also conform to the ideal of beauty in force at the time. On the right of the picture, the nymph Chloris is carried into the picture by the strongly moving wind god Zephyr.

Chloris is easily identifiable: she scatters flowers when she speaks. Here, too, the first ones already leave her mouth. I wonder what she wants to say? The later metamorphosis of Chloris can be seen to the left. The goddess Flora is on the one hand a city patroness for the flower city Florence, on the other hand she brings here also symbolically the flowers into the picture. Her dress is heavily decorated with floral motifs, which Botticelli reproduced extremely vividly.

In this picture it becomes very clear how much Botticelli oriented himself to the art of drawing. Clear lines, shaped hairstyles and plastic floral ornaments determine the picture. The entire scene is on a flowering meadow and orange groves crown the picture from above. In the background, trees rhythmize the image through vertical lines.

Sandro Boticelli - Primavera

Tempera on wood, c. 1478, 203 x 314 cm, Uffizi Gallery in Florence


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