Priory of Sion: Sandro Botticelli

Sandro Botticelli

Sandro Botticelli (Renaissance Painter)

Sandro Botticelli (birth name: Alessandro di Mariano Filipepi), Florentine Renaissance painter, born in Florence, Italy in 1445.  A Grand Master of the Priory of Sion (1483-1510)

The name Botticelli is derived from his brother Giovanni the pawnbroker, called Botticello.

By way of his father the tanner, Botticelli served as an apprentice to a goldsmith.  Yet Botticelli showed no interest in being a goldsmith, but yearned to study art, and so it was he learned his trade under Filippo Lippi a Florentine master.

Lippi’s painting style, formed early Florentine Renaissance, that which would become fundamental in Botticelli’s own artistic formation.  Lippi taught Botticelli techniques of panel painting, fresco and control of linear perspective.  Stylistically Botticelli acquired from Lippi compositions, costuming, linear sense of form, and use of colours.

Botticelli’s works moved on after his master Lippi left Florence, studying sculptural styles of Antonio Pollaiuolo and Andrea del Verrocchio leading Florentine painters of the 1460’s.  Under their influence Botticelli produced figures of sculptural roundness and strength, replacing Lippi’s delicate approach with robust and vigorous naturalism shaped by beauty.  By the 1470’s Botticelli had become an independent master with his own workshop in Florence.

For Sandro Botticelli art was his life, and he never married, and lived at the family home.

Around 1478-1481 Botticelli’s art entered a period of maturity, gone was the tentiveness in his brush strokes, to be replaced by mastery.  Integrating figures and placing them in harmonious compositions, and drawing the human form with such a compelling show of vitality.

Botticelli painted altar pieces in fresco on panels, tondi (round paintings) small panel pictures, devotional triptychs.  His altar pieces are known to include narrow vertical panels.

Virgin and Child (Date Unknown)

Madonna of the Magnificat (1482)

Virgin and Child with St.John and Angel (1490)

Botticelli’s skill as a portrait artist gained him the patronage of the Medici family; Lorenzo de Medici and his brother Giuliano de Medici.  Giuliano was assassinated in the Pazzi conspiracy of 1478, and Botticelli painted de famatory fresco of hanged conspirators.  These frescos were destroyed in 1494, after the expulsion of the Medici family.

Many commissions given to Botticelli by rich patrons were normally linked to Florentine custons; the occasion of marriage.  One of his earliest works, the marriage of Antonio Pucci’s son, Giannozzo in 1483.

The Birth of Venus - Botticelli

The Birth of Venus: Sandro Botticelli

One of the greatest secular paintings by Botticelli has to be the “Birth of Venus,” (The birth of love in the world).

Sandro Botticelli died on the 17th May 1510 in Florence, and buried in the “Church of Ognissanti.”

Virgin and Child - Sandro Botticelli

Virgin and Child: Sandro Botticelli