Events | Springtime in Florence Talk

An illustrated talk on ‘Springtime in Florence’ by Nick Nelson

Tuesday 31st May at 6:30pm The Cotswold Grange Hotel, Pittville Circus Rd, Cheltenham GL52 2QH

A Garden of Eternal Springtime Sandro Botticelli’s ‘La Primavera’

019469_v1 “Spring goes on her way and Venus, and before them treads Venus’ winged harbinger; and following close on the steps of Zephyrus, mother Flora strews and fills all the way before them with glorious colours and scents…. Thou, goddess, thou dost turn to flight the winds and the clouds of heaven, thou at thy coming; for thee earth, the quaint artificer, puts forth her sweet-scented flowers; for thee the levels of ocean smile, and the sky, its anger past, gleams with spreading light.” Lucretius,’ De Rerum Natura’ (V.737-740;1.6-9).

This large mythological masterpiece of c.1482 painted in oil on poplar by Sandro Botticelli (Alessandro di Mariano di Vanni Filipepi) exudes late Gothic grace and pre-empts Mannerism. The elegance of his linear style reminds us of the artist’s training under Lippi and his apprenticeship as a goldsmith, hence the traces of gold leaf in lines. The flowers depicted in La Primavera are raised to imitate the embroidery of a tapestry. The artist had returned from Rome in 1482 and embarked upon a series of large mythological works based on the nuptial theme, hence the allegory of marriage here. The work could also be a metaphorical celebration of the Liberal Arts aimed at the Florentine intelligentsia, demonstrating a scholarly knowledge of Humanism and Neo-Platonic ideas moving around the Medici court at the time. The commission by Lorenzo Medici celebrates Semiramide d’Appiano’s arranged marriage to Lorenzo di Pierfrancesco de Medici, which promoted political power. The work was specifically designed for Lorenzo’s bedchamber in the Villa Larga, Florence. Sources for the work include Ovid’s Fasti which celebrates the ‘Floralia’ or festival of Flora, in addition to Ovid’s Metamorphoses and Lucretius’ ‘De Rerum Natura’ (on the nature of things).

£12.50 per person Email: to book