Sandro Botticelli


Sandro Botticelli Primavera (Allegory of Spring)


This painting is from the early Renaissance period. It was painted on a panel (c. 1482) by Alessandro di Mariano di Vanni Filipepi also known as Sandro Botticelli.

The Artist


Sandro Botticelli was born in Florence, Italy, 1445.  Florence during the 15th century was in the midst of the early Renaissance, the rebirth of the classic world and was the most envied place by artists, writers, painters, architects and philosophers.  Botticelli grew up surrounded by limitless amounts of history and beautiful art.  He was a bright and talented artist at a young age so it was no surprise that he became an apprentice at the age of 14 and one of the few artists who received a fuller education. By 1462 he was apprenticed to Fra Filippo Lippi. Under Lippi he learned more intimate and detailed manner of painting and was given great opportunities for mastering his work. Some of his best work can be seen in the Sistine Chapel.

The Medici influence

Some of Botticelli’s’ work was either financed by the Medici family (a very influential family of the time) or by someone close to them. For instance, Botticelli’s painting the Adoration of the Magi 1475 (c. 1475-1476) was commissioned by someone who worked with the Medici family and was made to be housed for the Santa Maria Novella. The Santa Maria Novella Church was a Church the Medici family regularly attended.  The painting had Cosimo de ’Medici, his sons Piero and Giovanni and his grandsons Giuliano and Lorenzo and three Medici as Magi that were dead at the time the painting was made.

Two more paintings commissioned by the influential Medici family was the Primavera (c.1482) and The Birth of Venus (C. 1485) both by Botticelli. At the time the Primavera was seen by Art Historian Giorgio Vasari at the villa of Lorenzo de Pier Francesco de’ Medici in Castello in 1550. The Primavera painting had no name. Therefore, Vasari himself named the painting La Primavera for the springs in Florence.

My Analysis- La Primavera

What attracted me to this beautiful painting were the vibrant colors, delicate elegance and the luscious garden setting. This Painting carries all of the characteristics that I would have enjoyed in my own home. Many experts have contrived numerous possible meanings about this painting, but to me the primary meaning of this painting is fertility and the beginning of life.

The reason I picked fertility and the beginning of life for meaning is because to me the lady in the center looks very pregnant. Her belly looks heavy and low as if she is due to have the baby any second now. The way she slightly lifts her dress as to carefully not trip could mean that she is ready to deliver her new bundle of joy. She looks worried or anxious to me and possibly thinking about what lies ahead in her future and wondering what Motherhood will be like.  The people around her may be friends celebrating the beginnings of a new life that she is about to bring into the world.

The meaning of the flowers on the ground and and the orchard bearing fresh fruit on the trees confused me a little, because the title of the painting is called Primavera which means Spring. However, fruit on trees can take months to ripen and if this is indeed suppose to be based in Italy’s climate, I’m not sure if the winters are warm enough for fruit to be picked in the Spring. Therefore, I think this is the end of Summer and the beginning of Fall. Another reason I suspect the beginning of fall was because of the gray man. He seems to be taking one of the young girls almost kidnapping her from the picture,  Which could mean taking away the flowers and transitioning the season.

The young man playing with gray clouds on the right of the pregnant women looks very young. He could be the clueless father as to the life changing event that is about to happen. The gray clouds he plays with overhead could mean a warning of “dark days ahead”, fall is coming or implying parenthood is not going to be easy.

The three ladies dancing also seem to have multiple meanings. First of all they look alike as if they are triplets, possibly implying the Mother is going to have more than one child. Second, they could be the pregnant woman’s  sisters or midwives for the future baby, Third, the way  Botticelli was able to make their dresses very light, airy and almost transparent to me could mean soft, delicate and beautiful just like a newborn child would be to any new mother.

Expert Analysis

I really enjoy this painting, but most of all I like the mystery of what it means.  To hear some expert historians analysis please click on the following link.


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2 thoughts on “Sandro Botticelli

  1. Pingback: The one family you’ve probably never heard of… who’ve influenced your life the most | The Universe According To Samuel Cummings

  2. The painting is beautiful and I found your analysis very interesting. I was especially intrigued by your thoughts on how the fruit trees and the old man taking the young girl were more late summer fall ideas then spring ones. I found this interesting as the pregnant female about to give birth seems to bring such spring connotations.

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