The History of Art And The Curious Lives of Famous Painters
Education: he studied under Fra Fillippo, Andrea del Verrocchio and Pollajuolo
Cause of Death - he died of Old Age. In 1510 his father was sufficiently wealthy to purchase a family vault in the church of Ognissanti, where Sandro lies buried.
Mediums - fresco, oil and sometimes tempura on oak panel
Botticelli lived during troubled and restless times. The world was in transition. According to art historian Bernard Berenson "Educated in a period of triumphant naturalism, he plunged at first into mere representation with almost self-obliterating earnestness; the pupil of Fra Filippo, he was trained to a love of spiritual genre; himself gifted with strong instincts for the significant, he was able to create such a type of the thinker as in his fresco of St. Augustin; yet in his best years he left everything, even spiritual significance, behind him, and abandoned himself to the presentation of those qualities alone which in a picture are directly life-communicating, and life-enhancing. Those of us who care for nothing in the work of art but what it represents, are either powerfully attracted or repelled by his unhackneyed types and quivering feeling; but if we are such as have an imagination of touch and of movement that it is easy to stimulate, we feel a pleasure in Botticelli that few, if any, other artists can give us. Long after we have exhausted both the intensest sympathies and 71 the most violent antipathies with which the representative elements in his pictures may have inspired us, we are only on the verge of fully appreciating his real genius. This in its happiest moments is an unparalleled power of perfectly combining values of touch with values of movement.
Look, for instance, at Botticelli’s “Venus Rising from the Sea.” Throughout, the tactile imagination is roused to a keen activity, by itself almost as life heightening as music. But the power of music is even surpassed where, as in the goddess’ mane-like tresses of hair fluttering to the wind, not in disorderly rout but in masses yielding only after resistance, the movement is directly life-communicating. The entire picture presents us with the quintessence of all that is pleasurable to our imagination of touch and of movement. "
Sandro Botticelli' s first teacher was Fra Filippo, the jolly Carmelite. After he left Florence he studied with Andrea del Verrocchio and later Pollajuolo, from whom he leered color, anatomy, and perspective. But even his early works show that he used forms derived from his teachers to a express a sentiment quite different from theirs. In the midst of a time without spiritual tendencies, Botticelli penetrated anew the unfathomable depths of religious emotion; and among a group of realists he stands alone as a mystic enthusiast in a world apart from the rest. The joy in nature and the laughing optimism of the others he confronted, even at the time, with the solemn ecclesiasticism of the mille age, painting pictures which were a protest of a dreamy and sensitive soul against the prosaic objectivity reigning about him. The works of the older painters are sensible, sober, and clear, his are full of ecstatic emotion and dreams; a romanticism which, longing for the home of a soul, flies back to the middle age, strong in belief, and weaves about it all the charms of mysticism.
His early works, La Fortezza, a small Judith, St Sebastian and the Finding of the body of Holofernes show how, beginning as a pupil of Pollajuolo, he nevertheless differed from him in the soft, melancholy trend of his art. Botticelli never introduces genre subjects or jovial events, but conceives his paintings as the bearers of symbolic thoughts.
About The High Renaissance Period
Changes in SocietyThe newly emerging painting techniques and styles were a reflection of the transformation that was taking place in Europe, the change from the medieval period to a more enlightened, tolerant society. Artists of the Renaissance were elevated in social standing and their art was no longer looked upon as simple handicrafts, but as divinely inspired creations. The spirit of an era awoke, revitalized with knowledge and creativity. The major painters of the Renaissance were not only artists but men of great genius who gave the world their great intellectual gifts. Florentine and Venetian painting were both formed by extraordinary personalities. These men tackled mathematical, artistic and philosophical problems of the highest interest, and presented solutions that have never lost their value. Leonardo da Vinci asserted "In dealing with a scientific problem, I first arrange several experiments, and then show with reasons why such an experiment must necessarily operate in this and in no other way. This is the method which must be followed in all research upon the phenomenon of nature. We must consult experience in the variety of cases and circumstances until we can draw from them a general rule that is contained in them. And for what purposes are these rules good? They lead us to further investigations of nature and to creations of art. They prevent us from deceiving ourselves and others by promising results which are not obtainable."
The major painters of the Renaissance were not only artists but men of great genius who gave the world their great intellectual gifts. Florentine and Venetian painting were both formed by extraordinary personalities. These independent creative geniuses tackled mathematical, artistic and philosophical problems of the highest interest, and presented solutions that have never lost their value. The sense of humanism pervading renaissance painting is still palpable. The painters touched on a multitude of issues regarding the human condition - death, love, reason, religion, universal morality, social problems.
Key Descriptive Words and Phrases associated with the Renaissance Movement - rebirth, rediscovery of the classical world, City-state, Humanism, Humanist, Francesco Petrarch, Reform, The Prince, Theocracy, The Inquisition, Human Reasoning, publication of Della Pittura, a book about the laws of mathematical perspective for artists, sfumato, chiaroscuro, linear perspective, Heliocentric Theory, vanishing point, Savonarola, spiritually significant, illuminated manuscript, idealized biblical themes, scriptorium, emotion, illuminator, Age of Discovery, axonometric drawing, curiosity about the natural world, mythology, realistic use of colours and light, Bonfire of the Vanities, Old Testament stories, ethereal and foggy backgrounds, Gospel parables, The Blackdeath, romanticized landscapes, Christian symbolism.
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What is Sfumato?
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