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Sandro Boticelli

Sandro Botticelli, (1445-1510) was a famous Renaissance ari
t. His real name was Alessandro di Mariano Filipepi; his nickname came from Botticello (“little barrel”), which was either the nickname of his older brother or the name of the goldsmith who first taught him.
Botticelli was born in Florence to the tanner Marianno di Vanni and his wife in a small place called Smeralda which is now Borgo Ognissanti No. 28 in Florence. He was one of eight children born to his parents, Botticelli being the youngest. In 1458 his father rented a small country villa in Careggi from the powerful Rucellai family, which was a place near Florence where the family moved into the house called the Via della Vigna Nuova.
Botticelli’s family, the Vespucci family, saw that Sandro had potential to become an amazing artist.

They recommended him to the finest artists around for some teaching, but in 1460, at only 15 years old, Botticelli wanted to learn the art of a goldsmith as his older brother was very successful as a goldsmith and he wanted to be exactly like him. He was studying to be a goldsmith for a year or two when he saw a painting called, “Trinity Fresco” by Masaccio. He decided he wanted to paint just like him. He also met artists that had changed from being goldsmiths to artists, so he agreed with his family that he should be doing art.

He then changed his professional plans and went to Fra Filippo Lippi in Prato, who was a professional painter, one of the most famous painters in Florence. After 3 years of hard work, Botticelli and his inspiring teacher worked together and in 1465, Botticelli started his first piece of work under the supervision of his teacher. In 1467, Botticelli’s teacher, Fra Filippo Lippi, ended his course with Botticelli to go to Spoleto to decorate a chapel in the main Cathedral. Lippi’s move inspired Botticelli to start his own workshop in his own house.

Botticelli painted many paintings. He mostly painted religious paintings and paintings of gods and goddesses (mythology), angels and females because they required a lot of detail, which was Botticelli’s style. His painting style was developed from his master, Filippo Lippi in which the figures are rounded, soft, delicate and graceful. Mainly all his paintings were painted for powerful families such as the Medici family and his own family, the Vespucci family. Here are a few paintings:
– “Adoration of the Maggi”(1467, one of Botticelli’s first paintings).
– “The Virgin and Child with an Angel”,” The Virgin and Child with Two Angels and the Young St. John the Baptist”, “The Virgin and the Child with Six Saints”, “The Virgin and Child with 5 Angels”(all based on the same drawing- virgin, angels etc., done in the time of 1475-85).
-“Venus and Mars” and the famous “The Birth of Venus”(paintings of gods and goddesses, 1485).
– “Fortitudo”(1470) was painting that was painted for a courtroom in Florence. The picture is of a woman being a judge.
– “The Ammunciation”(1481), Painted for a hospital in Florence for the end of a plague that many people were stricken with since 1478.
– “The Rebellion Against the Laws of Moses”(1481-82), “Jewish Sacrifice and the Temptation of Christ”(1481-82), “Scenes from the Life of Moses”(1481-82).
– “Primavera”(1482), a painting of gods and goddesses and almost 500 different kinds of plants.
Botticelli also painted portraits of people such a lady, Smeralda Brandini(1470-75) and a man, Giuliano de ‘Medici(1476-78). Later on in his painting career, he showed different art to his other paintings, showing the poor side of his personality. This can be shown in his painting called “Nativity”, as the painting is sharply defined and with cold colours.

Botticelli’s style of painting had influenced many people and many artists who then became famous, also changing the way people look at art. For example, Lippi, Filippino (1457-1504) was an Italian artist, the son of the famous Renaissance painter Fra Filippo Lippi. His work is similar to Botticelli. He believed that Botticelli was his father’s best pupil and was very much influenced by him. He studied in Botticelli’s workshop and turned into a famous Renaissance artist.
Also, an artist named Modiglian, was influenced by Botticelli. Most of his work had Botticelli’s style in it and he too became a famous artist.

Another artist named Piero was also influenced by Botticelli, his work having Botticelli’s style in it too, and gained a reputation as one of the most famous painters of the Renaissance.
The word Renaissance means “Rebirth”. This is used to describe the revival of ideas from art of ancient Greece and Rome that took place in Italy (Florence was the early centre) in the 14th and 15th century. It then spread around the whole of Europe in the 16th and 17th century. The Renaissance was when sculptors, artists and goldsmiths etc. began to assert their own personalities in their works. They started using the anatomy of human body, using the shapes and theory from math’s and geometry.

In the Renaissance, Botticelli was very well respected and was considered as the best painter left in Florence. He was privately commissioned by the Medici family and the Pope to work at the Vatican.
After researching Botticelli, I think he is a great artist. He had a very positive attitude and always believed in himself. The minute he saw a painting of “Trinity Fresco” by Masaccio, he knew that he wanted to paint and become famous just like him. He was very influenced by his master when he was 15 years old, and was inspired by him. I think that all his paintings are beautiful, as the women figures he paints are so realistic with so much detail, particularly in the painting, “The Birth of Venus”.
In my research, I was not able to find much information on his personality.



1. Microsoft, (1999), Microsoft Encarta Encyclopedia[CD-ROM], Botticelli Sandro.

2. Pioch, N (1996) Botticelli Sandro, WedMuseum[On-line]
URL: http://www.ibiblio.org/wm/paint/auth/botticelli/.

3. Microsoft (1993-2000) Encarta Search Engine[On-line], Sandro Botticelli:influences, URL: www.encarta.com.

4. Microsoft (1993-2000) Encarta Search Engine[On-line], Sandro
Botticelli:teacher, URL: www.encarta.com.

5. Taschen, P (1994) Botticelli, Germany.

6. Hamlyn, P (1964) Art Treasure of the World, Middlesex.

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