The Victoria and Albert Museum will host an innovative exhibition called ‘Botticelli Reimagined’ from 5th March until 3rd July 2016. It will be the largest Botticelli exhibition in Britain since 1930 and it will explore the ways that artists have been inspired and have interpreted the great painter. It will include over 50 original works by the Italian artist, although, of course, some of his masterpieces will not be able to enrich the exhibition.
If you have been enraptured by the serene beauty of Botticelli’s paintings and want to see more, here is a selection of his best works you can enjoy all around the world.
1. The Birth of Venus
Probably the most known Botticelli’s painting, it is thought to have been painted in 1480. Displayed at the Uffizi Gallery in Florence, the work shows Venus coming out from a sea shell, as written in Ovid’s Metamorphoses. The work represents the birth of love and spiritual beauty as the strength that moves life. Venus’ pose and beauty have since inspired many artists, she is a genuine example of Renaissance beauty and she set the bar for modern beauty standards. This work was commissioned by Medici family, and in the background Botticelli painted one of the family’s symbols, the orange tree.
Also known as Allegory of Spring, this painting is also displayed at the Uffizi Gallery. It contains references to the Roman poets Ovid and Lucretius and is allegorical for the lush growth of Spring. Venus presides in the garden and is surrounded by Flora, the goddess of flowers and the season of spring, the three Graces, and other mythological characters like the nymphs Chloris and Zephyrus, who symbolising the west wind. Zephyrus chases Flora and fecundates her with a blow. And so Flora turns into Spring. Like ‘The birth of Venus’, the dimensions of the painting are big. In fact, it measures 80in x 124in.
3. Venus and Mars
This is only one of Botticelli’s fifteen works that are displayed at the National Gallery in London. In this painting Mars, the God of War, and one of the lovers of Venus, is asleep and unarmed, while the Goddess of Love is awake and alert. Love conquers it all, including war. In fact, Mars is exhausted and let the small satyrs playing around him with his armour.
4. Madonna with the Child and two Angels
Although it is an early work, in this painting, displayed at the Museo di Capodimonte in Naples, there are all Botticelli’s classic hallmarks. Originally, the painting was attributed to Filippo Lippi, but more accurate studies revealed Botticelli was the painter. The Madonna’s melanchonic beauty shows the Botticelli personal touch.
5. Portrait of a young woman
Displayed at Palazzo Pitti in Florence, this painting represents a woman whose identity is unknown and was partly repainted. According to the period trend, the artist drew the woman on profile to add value to the feminine character.
By the time Botticelli painted this work, he had become a popular painter of altarpieces. The painting, displayed at Metropolitan Museum in New York, represents archangel Gabriel visiting Mary and telling her she will be the Virgin Mother of Christ. Mary is in a room in semi-darkness, a typical element in iconography while the light comes from the window through which the archangel just entered.