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Botticelli Essay Research Paper McGaharan 1Jon McGaharanAP

Botticelli Essay, Research Paper McGaharan 1 Jon McGaharan AP Art History Mrs. Johnston 1 December 1999 Botticelli, Sandro. Primavera. Galleria degli Uffizi, Florence. Mark Harden?s

Botticelli Essay, Research Paper

McGaharan 1

Jon McGaharan

AP Art History

Mrs. Johnston

1 December 1999

Botticelli, Sandro. Primavera. Galleria degli Uffizi, Florence. Mark Harden?s

Artchive. By Mark Harden. Available http://www.artchive.com/ftp_site.html.

Botticelli?s masterpiece, Primavera, depicts a scene of slow moving grace in what

appears to be a mythical garden. The actual subject of this masterpiece is unknown, but

there are volumes of ideas concerning the purposes and meanings the painting could have.

Despite the confusion the painting is widely admired and revered as Botticelli?s finest

works. The scene appears to be a spring morning, with a pale light penetrating the straight

vertical trees in the background. The trees appear to bear golden apples, a possible

reference to the myth of Venus and the golden apple which seems feasible considering

Venus appears in the center of the painting underneath the great canopy provided by the

trees. Golden apples are also the attribute of the Three Graces, the handmaidens of Venus,

also shown in this work. Chloris, the ancient Greek goddess of flowers, is fleeing from

Zephyr, the west wind of springtime whom begets flowers, on the right side of the

painting. When Zephyr catches her in his embrace flowers spill from her lips and she

transforms into Flora the Roman goddess of flowers. Flora is depicted separately from

Chloris and is dressed in blossoms as she scatters flowers over the ground. In the center is

a dignified Venus with a promise of joy. Above Venus is the infant Cupid, blindfolded and

aiming his arrows of love. To the left the Three Graces dance in silent daydream of grace.

They are separated from the other figures in time as indicated by their hair blowing in the

opposite direction from Zephyr?s gusts. The figure on the extreme left is that of Mercury,

messenger of the gods. He provides a male counterpart to Zephyr. Zephyr is breathing

love and warmth into

McGaharan 2

a wintry world while Mercury is diverting this expression to a more culturally acceptable

form, considering the context of the time period, by opening the scene to the gods. The

scene has a dream like quality. The subject seems to be ambivalent, the gentle yet strong

colors give the figures presence and weight, but the figures also seem insubstantial or

dreamlike.

The light figures of the painting heavily contrast with the dark background of the

woods. The ground does not seem to be present but flowers are scattered on top of it

adding to the dreamlike state of the work. The picture is harmonized by the equal

distribution of figures over the picture plane. There is a slow moving rhythm to the way

the figures move added to by the various gestures of their arms, graceful and elegant. It is

interesting to note that the hand of the fleeing Chloris as it overlaps, and appears to blend

into, the arm of Flora.

Botticelli lived from 1445 to 1510 in Florence. Despite his individuality as a

Renaissance painter, he remained little known for centuries after his death until his work

was rediscovered late in the 19th century. Botticelli was a pupil of the painter Fra Filippo

Lippi. He was commissioned to do this work after enjoying success over his work Venus

and Mars, an allegory of War and Love, for the Medici families. Lorenzo di Piefrancesco

de?Medici enjoyed Mars and Venus so much he commissioned Botticelli for two works,

Primavera and The Birth of Venus. These works are considered his best works.

I chose this piece because I reviewed Mars and Venus and found the elegance of

Botticelli style captivating. The mystery of this particular painting interested me. The fact

that scholars cannot understand the exact subject of the work adds an element of mystery

to the work.

on paper

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