This is the first post in a series of articles, about the world's most famous & influential artists in history. So keep tuned for a new article, every week.

We kick the series off with Sandro Botticelli.

Who is Sandro Botticelli

Born on March 1, 1445, in Florence Italy, Alessandro di Mariano di Vanni Filipepi is recognized as Sandro Botticelli, was a painter of the early Renaissance.

His The Birth of Venus and Primavera are often said to embody for modern viewers the spirit of the Renaissance. Most of the current information about Botticelli’s life and character derives from Giorgio Vasari’s Lives of the Most Eminent Painters, Sculptors, & Architects, as supplemented and corrected from documents.

The Birth of Venus and Primavera
The Birth of Venus and Primavera, by Sandro Botticelli

Botticelli’s father was a tanner who apprenticed Sandro to a goldsmith after his schooling was completed. But, since Sandro chosen Painting, his father then placed him under Filippo Lippi, who was one of the most admired Florentine masters.

After Lippi left Florence for Spoleto, Botticelli worked hard to improve the comparatively soft, frail figural style he had discovered from his teacher. To this end, he studied the sculptural style of Antonio Pollaiuolo and Andrea Del Verrocchio, the major Florentine painters of the 1460s, and under their influence.

Botticelli created figures of sculptural roundness and strength. He also redesigned Lippi’s delicate method with a robust and vigorous naturalism, formed always by Conceptions of ideal beauty. Already by 1470, Botticelli was organized in Florence as an independent master with his own workshop.

Artistic Development

About 1478–81 Botticelli entered his artistic adultness; all doubtfulness in his work disappeared and was replaced by a Consummate mastery. He was able to Integrate figure and setting into balanced compositions and to draw the human form with compelling courage.

He would later display unique skill at making narrative texts and books, whether biographies of saints or stories from Boccaccio’s Decameron or Dante’s Divine Comedy, into a visual form, which was created between ca 1485 and 1495, and it was 92 full-page pictures by Sandro which is considered Masterpieces and amongst the best works in the Renaissance era.

It is defined by the very tight relationship between the text parts and the adequate illustrations portraying the scenes in the fullest detail, when you read Dante's Divine Comedy and see Boccaccio’s works you can see how detailed and accurate is the paintings to the texts and how imaginative Was Boccaccio.

Illustrating Dante’s Divine Comedy

Sandro Botticelli started illustrating Dante’s Divine Comedy at the recommendation of Lorenzo di Pier Francesco di Medici around 1490. His drawings let us share the Florentine artist’s passion for this masterpiece of poetry and humanism from the intuition of Dante Alighieri.

Botticelli : Punishment of the Panderers Seducers and Sycophants

illustrations for Dante’s Divine Comedy were split up into many parts and have had a very good and bad history. Of the original 100 drawings, lost until the 17th century, only 92 have so far been found.

A first part, including of the illustrations for Cantos I, VIII, IX, X, XII, XIII, XV and XVI of Hell, was found in the Vatican Library, with writing on a header sheet portraying the set of circles of Hell. These 9 drawings were in a volume of miscellanies that had been in Christine of Sweden’s collection of manuscripts. Today, they are protected at the Vatican, in the oldest and least-accessible library in the world.

A second part, including 83 drawings, was identified at Paris booksellers in the 19th century. It passed through the hands of the Duke of Hamilton, before being purchased in 1882 by the King of Prussia’s curator for the Berlin Royal Drawing & Print Collection.

WWII and Its Effect

After WWII, this part was split up and protected in 2 different museums, because of the building of the Berlin Wall. Since 1993, the 83 drawings have been reunited and are secured in Berlin’s prestigious Drawing & Print Collection.

Why is Sandro Botticelli so Famous?

As one of the greatest painters of the Florentine Renaissance. His paintings (Birth of Venus) and (Primavera), are often said to epitomize for modern viewers the spirit of the Renaissance.

Primavera

The meaning of Botticelli's Primavera is still a mystery. This artwork is on different levels of interpretation: from mythological, to philosophical and historical.

Sandro Botticelli's Primavera
Sandro Botticelli's Primavera - image source wikipedia

The Italian Renaissance was a truly groundbreaking movement that influenced the entire Western culture. It brought an entirely different world view based on the scientific and social profoundly inspired by the Greek philosophy and culture. 

The cities-states that were run by wealthy nobleman families became hubs for producing amazing artworks. This particular artwork is perhaps one of the most representative examples of allegorical painting that encapsulated the Renaissance zeitgeist.

Although it features a group of figures from classical mythology in a garden, Primavera is not based on any particular literary source.

The painting is often discussed in comparison with Botticelli's other equally celebrated mythological painting The Birth of Venus.