By Darla McCammon
Sandro Botticelli, a Renaissance painter, was born and died in Florence Italy.
One of the only artists we researched that stayed and worked in his own place of birth. At a certain age, his father made sure we received excellent training by artist Fra Filippo Lippi. He succeeded. Most of his works are famous, including the “Mystic Nativity” dated 1501, shown here with angels floating on air (photo provided). His work, like that of our other famous artists saw many changes and progression in style. His popularity grew as his work improved. Mystic Nativity is one of his most accomplished efforts.
If you recall, da Vinci, who lived in the same era as Botticelli, worked into what is called the High Renaissance style. Botticelli did not follow that trend and kept to work that was more traditionally Gothic. His father expanded Botticelli’s knowledge and had him trained in the art of a goldsmith. In 1464, his wealthy father bought a house that was to be Botticelli’s home with his brothers for life. Botticelli died there in 1510. His studio was in the home. Another bonus to this purchase was the number of influential neighbor families who ultimately purchased many of his paintings. One such patron was Amerigo Vespucci, whom history buffs will recognize as naming our north and south America.
Botticelli began slowly and steadily to receive wonderful commissions for his work. He stayed busy and acquired wealth of his own. His mentor Fra Filippo Lippi passed away but Botticelli took Lippi’s talented son under his wing. The young man quickly worked his way up to becoming very important in assisting Botticelli in those many commissions.
Another large feather in the Botticelli cap was the call to provide three paintings alongside Michelangelo in the Sistine Chapel. These were very large (approximately 4 by 8 feet) frescos. They were applauded and appreciated when done. Other than the time devoted to completing these works, Botticelli lived and worked exclusively from his home studio in Florence. By 1480 patrons were coming to expect humor he often injected into his work. This came to the fore when he was commissioned, along with a competitor to do a work showing Saint Augustine in his study in his and the patron’s church. The competition spurred him, thus Botticelli outdid himself with his best work, but also included a practical joke within the painting. The two paintings were situated facing each other with the Botticelli obviously outshining the challenger’s work. These incidents endeared him to his clients and accelerated his sales.
Botticelli produced a large number of paintings, and like many other artists was recognized much more after his death, in spite of fairly good reviews and sales while he was alive. He created many Madonnas and religious works which are revered today. He was more successful during his life than many of the other famous artists we have researched.
Coming up: The Lakeland Art Association Spring art show competition will be on display this month. The gallery is at 302 E. Winona Ave. Warsaw.
Questions or comments for Darla McCammon? Email her at [email protected]. Want to exhibit your work? Contact me. Subject: Art exhibit.