~ The Spotlight Series ~
Sandro Botticelli : A Fully Florentine Renaissance
After this seminar, you'll know all there is to know about : Life of Sandro Botticelli, the Italian Renaissance, Florence in the Renaissance, the Medici, humanism, The Birth of Venus, Springtime, Botticelli's portraits, (including the world's most expensive painting).
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Alessandro Filipepi, more commonly known as Botticelli, is considered to be one of Italy's most remarkable 15th century painters and a hallmark artist of the Early Italian Renaissance. Born in 1445 to a humble cloth-tanning father, Botticelli began his artistic career as a young apprentice in the workshop of the renowned Fra Filippo Lippi. Working alongside the most outstanding artists of his time, Botticelli would quickly reveal his innate talent for colour, composition, and portraiture and would become one of the most famous household names throughout Tuscany. Join us as we discover the fascinating details of Botticelli's life journey and delve into 15th-century Florentine life as seen through the eyes, and art, of this remarkable Renaissance artist.
During the first part of this seminar, we'll discover Botticelli's youth and early years as an apprentice in Florence, as well as his early beginnings as an independent artist in a workshop all his own. We'll take a look at how his artistic vision was shaped by a host of outstanding mentors, teachers and colleagues -- including Fra Filippo Lippi, Andrea del Verrocchio, and the Pollaiolo brothers -- and see how his apprenticeship in goldsmithery, engraving, and carving helped to make him a more versatile painter. Discover some of Botticelli's earliest paintings, many of which are virtually unknown to the public eye, and see how he slowly began to emancipate himself from his masters' style and find an artistic identity of his own. We'll also discuss the Early Renaissance as an artistic movement, and the concept of "humanism" as it originated in Florence, and see how this exciting new way of seeing the world was expressed by Botticelli and his peers in their work.
The Medici Years
Next, we'll take a look at the most exciting and promising period of Botticelli's life : the mature years, during which he became known by the general public and carved out a place for himself as an established and respected artist on the Florentine art scene. We'll discuss that fateful meeting with Angelo Poliziano of the Platonic Academy -- the defining moment of Botticelli's career -- and the relationship he later developped with the leading members of the Medici family and their powerful cohort. As a protégé of the Medici family, Botticelli was ushered into the crème de la crème of Florentine society and gained access to privileged art clients and patrons. We'll take a look at Botticelli's most iconic paintings, many of which date back to this period and can be traced to such patrons, including the Birth of Venus, the Springtime, and a large number of portraits of illustrious Florentine patricians and youths. Hear about how the artist embraced the new precepts of Neoplatonism as espoused by his friends at the Platonic Academy, and embodied them in his own work, making many of his paintings the symbol of this new intellectual mentality. Also hear about the only trip Botticelli ever took out of Florence, as a guest of Pope Sixtus IVth in Rome, where he painted three frescoes on the walls of the Sistine Chapel, alongside Ghirlandaio, Perugino and other greats of Tuscan painting.
Downfall and Death
Lastly, we will see the last years of Botticelli's life, and the unfortunate undoing of years of work with the fateful arrival of Girolamo da Savonarola on the scene. Discover how the atmosphere in Florence suddenly changed from the 1480's onwards, and how the religious fanaticism of this dominican monk moved dozens of artists, writers and philosophers to renounce their work in order to redeem their eternal souls. Hear about the Bonfire of the Vanities, a bonfire set up by Savonarola in the central square of the city, where books and paintings on the "forbidden" list were burned and where Botticelli himself would throw many of his own paintings, to be lost forever. See the last paintings the artist created during this tumultuous time, and discover how this religious rebirth affected his artistic style and led him to create new forms of expression. Discover the last years of a brilliant artist who, having renounced the patronage of his wealthy and powerful friends, died in poverty in the house he had lived in for most of his life, and was buried quietly in the neighbourhood church. A quiet end to a whirlwind of artistic genius and an unparalleled artistic legacy.