September 30, 2023


Make Some Fun

Artwork Historical past Information: Botticelli Drawings

6 min read


Legion of Honor 

November 19, 2023–February 11, 2024

A quintessential artist of the Italian Renaissance, Alessandro di Mariano di Vanni Filipepi—higher referred to as Sandro Botticelli—has had a permanent affect on up to date tradition, from artwork and design to bounce, music, trend, and movie. Recognized for a number of the world’s biggest work, from La Primavera (1477–1482) to the Start of Venus (1485–1486), Botticelli has impressed the likes of artists Andy Warhol, Jean Paul Gaultier, and Cindy Sherman, amongst others. He was an skilled draftsman, creating drawings that underlie and animate his biggest compositions. Though key to the aesthetic driving his continued relevance and recognition, there was no main exhibition devoted to Botticelli’s artwork of drawing—till now. 

Reuniting uncommon works from throughout the USA and Europe, Botticelli Drawings—offered solely on the Legion of Honor—is the primary exhibition to discover the central function that drawing performed in Botticelli’s artwork and workshop follow. Anchored by in depth analysis by Furio Rinaldi, curator of prints and drawings on the Superb Arts Museums of San Francisco, the exhibition unveils 5 newly attributed drawings alongside practically 60 works from 42 lending establishments. 

Pairing Botticelli’s graphic output as a complete from the Gallerie degli Uffizi, Florence; British Museum, London; and The Morgan Library & Museum, New York alongside key work on mortgage from The Nationwide Gallery, London; the Galleria Borghese, Rome; and the Musée du Louvre, Paris, Botticelli Drawings gives a uncommon alternative to discover the inventive course of behind such famend works as The Adoration of the Magi (1475–1476), reunited right here with three preparatory designs. 

“Botticelli’s work are world-renowned for his or her grace and beautiful line, however the relationship between his drawings and work has by no means been totally investigated,” remarked Thomas P. Campbell, Director and CEO of the Superb Arts Museums of San Francisco. “Now, on this beautiful and groundbreaking exhibition, nearly all of Botticelli’s graphic output takes us beneath the floor of the work to light up the artist’s inventive course of, from conception and growth to closing execution.”

The artwork of drawing underwent main useful modifications and technical developments in Fifteenth-century Florence. Among the many first artists to make draftsmanship central to his aesthetic and design follow, Botticelli developed a brand new visible type for the period, elevating the road as the first power behind his figures and their rhythmic motion. Hanging a fragile steadiness between realistically portraying particular person topics and abstracting their options, Botticelli created portraits which have endured by means of centuries as potent symbols of magnificence. A prolific portraitist, he made a follow of drawing from life, one that will grow to be a creative customary in Renaissance Florence and past. But regardless of the centrality of drawing to Botticelli’s work, lower than three dozen confirmed drawings by the artist survive at this time. The hardships he skilled later in life, together with penury and the decline of his workshop enterprise, could have led to the lack of the overwhelming majority of Botticelli’s graphic output.

Botticelli Drawings options 27 drawings by the artist, exploring the medium as his major type of inventive expression. The unbelievable rarity and fragility of those works precludes frequent journey, and lots of are leaving their lending establishments for the very first time in trendy historical past solely for this exhibition. The results of authentic, exacting analysis, the exhibition unveils 5 newly attributed drawings by Botticelli. The preparatory drawing for the Louvre’s The Virgin and Youngster with the Younger Saint John the Baptist (ca. 1468–1480), newly attributed, is reunited right here with the ensuing portray. Different unprecedented pairings, reminiscent of the comb drawings on linen—divided between the Fitzwilliam Museum in Cambridge, England, and the Morgan Library & Museum in New York—with the ensuing portray of The Adoration of the Magi (1475–1476, Uffizi), provide perception into the artist’s transformative methodology of composition and design course of. Departing from the usual interpretation of Botticelli’s later years as a interval of decline marred by successive political upheavals within the wake of the Medici’s ouster, the exhibition rethinks the artist’s works from the 1490s and 1500s as one in all his most experimental phases but. The Museums’ presentation will provide a brand new lens by means of which to think about the artist’s unconventional stylistic evolution towards linear abstraction, resistance to perspective, and anti-naturalism.

Botticelli Drawings reunites this beloved artist’s graphic output as a complete for the very first time, a difficult endeavor given the rarity and fragility of those works,” famous Furio Rinaldi. “42 private and non-private establishments have staunchly supported this exhibition with distinctive loans, contributing drawings from their collections, nearly all of which have by no means earlier than left their lending establishments. This exhibition gives a really distinctive alternative to see and perceive Botticelli’s thought and design course of resulting in the making of his memorable masterpieces.” 

The exhibition is accompanied by a richly illustrated catalog (copublished by the Superb Arts Museums of San Francisco and Yale College Press) by organizing curator Furio Rinaldi, providing the primary systematic research of Botticelli’s graphic output and the underdrawing of his work. Botticelli Drawings is a celebration of the artist’s quest for the proper line, expressing the centrality of draftsmanship within the historical past of human creativity. 


  1. Sandro Botticelli and Workshop. Virgin and Youngster with Saint John the Baptist and Six Singing Angels, ca. 1490. Tempera on panel, diameter: 67 in. (170 cm). Galleria Borghese, Rome, inv. 348 Courtesy Borghese Gallery. Photographer Mauro Coen

  1. Sandro Botticelli. “Examine of the top of a lady in profile (“La Bella Simonetta”) (recto); Examine of the determine of Minerva (verso),” ca. 1485. Metalpoint, white gouache on light-brown ready paper (recto), black chalk, pen and brown ink, brown wash, white gouache (verso). 13 7/16 x 9 1/16 in. (34.2 x 23 cm.) The Ashmolean Museum, College of Oxford. Bequeather by Francis Douce, 1834. ©️ Ashmolean Museum

  1. Sandro Botticelli. The Virgin and Youngster with the Younger Saint John the Baptist (‘Madonna of the Rose Backyard’), ca. 1468. Tempera and gold on poplar panel, 35 3/4 x 26 3/8 in. (90.7 x 67 cm).Musée du Louvre, Département des Peintures, inv. 286 / L 3936 © RMN-Grand Palais. Picture: Tony Querrec

  1. Sandro Botticelli. “Two standing males, one draped (recto), A standing younger man along with his arm raised (verso),” silverpoint, heightened with white gouache, on yellow-ocher ready paper (recto and verso), inscribed ‘Piero Pollaiuolo’ (decrease proper, recto), 7 3/4 x 10 3/8 in. (19.8 x 26.5 cm) Gabinetto Disegni e Stampe degli Uffizi, Florence, inv. 391E R-V

  1. Francesco Rosselli primarily based on a design by Sandro Botticelli. The Assumption of the Virgin, ca. 1493. Broad method engraving, two separate sheets of medium-thin laid paper, not joined, 32 ⅛ x 21 13/16 in. (81. 6 x 55.4 cm) Museum of Superb Arts Boston, Julia Bradford Huntington James Fund, 16.486.1-2

  1. Sandro Botticelli. The Annunciation, ca. 1490-1495. Oil, tempera, gold lead on walnut panel. Framed: 31 1/4 x 36 7/8 x 6 5/8 in. (79.299 x 93.726 x 16.8 cm). 19 1/2 x 24 3/8 in. (49.5 x 61.9 cm) Lent by Glasgow Life (Glasgow Museums) on behalf of Glasgow Metropolis Council, Archibald McLellan Assortment, bought, 1856.

  1. Sandro Botticelli. “The Religious Jews at Pentecost,” ca. 1505. Black chalk, pen and brown ink, brown wash, highlighted with white gouache on paper. 9 1/8 x 14 3/8 in. (23.1 x 36.5 cm.) Hessisches Landesmuseum Darmstadt, {Photograph} by Wolfgang Fuhrmannek.

  1. Sandro Botticelli. Judith with the Head of Holofernes, ca. 1497-1500. Tempera and oil on panel. 14 3/8 x 7 7/8 x 2 3/4 in., (36.5 x 20 x 7 cm.) Rijksmuseum. J.W.E. vom Rath Bequest, Amsterdam. Picture courtesy Rijksmuseum

Exhibition Group 

Botticelli Drawings is organized by the Superb Arts Museums of San Francisco.

About Sandro Botticelli 

One of many world’s most well-known and beloved artists, Alessandro di Mariano di Vanni Filipepi (Florence, ca. 1445–1510), referred to as Sandro Botticelli, epitomizes the flowering of the Renaissance in Fifteenth-century Italy. Botticelli established his fame and affluent enterprise from the late 1460s, as painter of portraits and spiritual pictures (notably, Madonnas). But it’s his frescoes within the Vatican and a sequence of mythological footage within the 1480s, distinguished by narrative ambiguity and sensual enchantment—from La Primavera to The Start of Venus—that ignited Botticelli’s later revival and ensured his continued reputation at this time. The search for magnificence and poetic concepts that underlie his artwork moved Botticelli to the best hierarchies of the Medici household, which unofficially dominated Florence on the time. A lot of his work is imbued with the philosophic concepts of the Florentine neo-Platonists surrounding Lorenzo the Magnificent, his most outstanding patron, and later by the feverish spirituality of the Dominican friar Girolamo Savonarola, who took Florence by storm preaching in opposition to the rampant corruption of the Church.  

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