(b. 1445, Firenze, d. 1510, Firenze)

Primavera (detail)

c. 1482
Tempera on panel
Galleria degli Uffizi, Florence

The three Graces, companions of Venus, Goddess of Love, are dancing a roundelay. Next to them stands Mercury, Messenger of the Gods, protecting the garden of Venus from intruders. He may be identified by means of his winged shoes, and also by the staff in his raised hand, the so-called caduceus, around which two snakes are winding themselves. Classical mythology has it that Mercury used his staff to separate two fighting snakes, upon which the staff became the symbol of peace.