Allegoric paintings (1480s)
by Sandro BOTTICELLI

The 1480s were Botticelli's most productive years. While he was one of the most desirable painters in Florence even before he left for Rome, by the time he returned, after the large project working on the frescoes for the Pope, his reputation was firmly established. He gained commissions from the families in high society who increasingly chose classical themes for the luxurious decoration of their town houses.

In this period Botticelli created the large format mythological and allegorical paintings (Primavera, Pallas and the Centaur, Venus and Mars, Birth of Venus) that are some of his best-known works. These paintings constitute an unusually homogenouos group, not only in pictorial content but also in stylistic expression. Despite research by art historians that has continued for over a century, they are still a mystery. The difficulty in deciphering them lies in the fact that there are no known predecessors, nor can their pictorial programs be conclusively derived from written sources. Rather, they are a blending of classical and modern sources. These paintings were not originally intended to be seen by a larger audience, but were hung in private rooms, tailored precisely to the requirements of the client and reflecting their particular interests in the classical body of thought. The study of antiquity was particularly encouraged in the humanist circle associated with the Medicis, and Botticelli's patrons also belonged to it.

The series of mythological paintings is brought to a close by two frescoes which originally decorated the country villa of Lemmi, near Florence

Preview Picture Data File Info Comment
Primavera
c. 1482
Tempera on panel, 203 x 314 cm
Galleria degli Uffizi, Florence

1270*821
True Color
168 Kb



Primavera (detail)
c. 1482
Tempera on panel
Galleria degli Uffizi, Florence

750*1040
True Color
178 Kb



Primavera (detail)
c. 1482
Tempera on panel
Galleria degli Uffizi, Florence

630*1127
True Color
191 Kb



Primavera (detail)
c. 1482
Tempera on panel
Galleria degli Uffizi, Florence

1000*1238
True Color
169 Kb



Primavera (detail)
c. 1482
Tempera on panel
Galleria degli Uffizi, Florence

900*1145
True Color
217 Kb



Primavera (detail)
c. 1482
Tempera on panel
Galleria degli Uffizi, Florence

670*905
True Color
156 Kb



Primavera (detail)
c. 1482
Tempera on panel
Galleria degli Uffizi, Florence

700*923
True Color
113 Kb



Pallas and the Centaur
c. 1482
Tempera on canvas, 205 x 147,5 cm
Galleria degli Uffizi, Florence

850*1204
True Color
150 Kb



Pallas and the Centaur (detail)
c. 1482
Tempera on canvas
Galleria degli Uffizi, Florence

831*690
True Color
115 Kb



The Birth of Venus
c. 1485
Tempera on canvas, 172.5 x 278.5 cm
Galleria degli Uffizi, Florence

1276*750
True Color
192 Kb



The Birth of Venus (detail)
c. 1485
Tempera on canvas
Galleria degli Uffizi, Florence

951*743
True Color
150 Kb



The Birth of Venus (detail)
c. 1485
Tempera on canvas
Galleria degli Uffizi, Florence

720*1033
True Color
125 Kb



The Birth of Venus (detail)
c. 1485
Tempera on canvas
Galleria degli Uffizi, Florence

750*1058
True Color
186 Kb



The Birth of Venus (detail)
c. 1485
Tempera on canvas
Galleria degli Uffizi, Florence

646*1214
True Color
151 Kb



Venus and Mars
c. 1483
Tempera on wood, 69 x 173,5 cm
National Gallery, London

1466*600
True Color
161 Kb



Venus and Mars (detail)
c. 1483
Tempera on wood
National Gallery, London

801*1055
True Color
120 Kb



Venus and the Three Graces Presenting Gifts to a Young Woman
c. 1484
Fresco transferred to canvas, 211 x 284 cm
Musée du Louvre, Paris

1044*770
True Color
187 Kb



A Young Man Being Introduced to the Seven Liberal Arts
c. 1484
Fresco transferred to canvas, 238 x 284 cm
Musée du Louvre, Paris

1000*844
True Color
185 Kb




Summary of works by Botticelli
| early paintings | late paintings |
religious paintings | page 1 | page 2 |
| Cappella Sistina | San Barnaba | San Marco |
| allegories | Nastagio | scenic stories | portraits |
| drawings | illustrations for Dante's Divine Comedy |