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Sandro Botticelli: La Primavera (Tahun 1481); Galleria degli Uffizi, Florence, Italia

BOTTICELLI’S PRIMAVERA: SPRINGTIME FOR THE MEDICI
This astoundingly beautiful and intriguing painting was most likely made in commission in 1481, to serve as a wedding gift for Lorenzo di Pierfrancesco, a member of the Medici family, and Semiramide Apiani. The subject matter of the painting was, very appropriately, the Realm of Venus, goddess of love.
La Primavera (The Spring) is the oldest known example from the Renaissance era that shows full-length mythological figures. A work of such proportions with a classical content was quite rare during this period. The explanation for this unusual choice may be found in the humanistic background of the Medicis: not only were they immensely important in the political and economic arena of Florence, they also played a pivotal role in the revival of the classical antiquity as a source of inspiration for the cultural elite of that time.
The picture is best ‘read’ from right to left. Zephyrus enters the scene, imposing himself on the object of his desire, the nymph Chloris. Regretting his actions, Zephyrus then transforms Chloris to Flora, the goddess of flowers and spring. Botticelli shows the stseni of the transformation of Chloris by letting the first flowers spill from her mouth. In the next instant, the transformation is complete and Flora has strewn the garden with (almost two hundred different types of!) flowers.
The central figure is Venus, escorted by her usual companions, the Three Graces. Her blindfolded son Cupid is aiming his arrow at them. On the far left, Mercury wards off dark clouds with his caduceus, a staff with two serpents twined around it.
The iconography is based on classical texts, in pseniicular Lucretius’ De Rerum Natura: ‘Spring-time and Venus come/ And Venus' boy, the winged harbinger, steps on before/ And hard on Zephyr's foot-prints Mother Flora/ Sprinkling the ways before them, filleth all/ With colours and with odours excellent.’
While all of these elements illustrate the fact that La Primavera was a very suitable gift for newlyweds, it is assumed that the painting also harbors details that were specifically included for the refined circles around the Medici family. To be continued…
(text: Masenien Levendig

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