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Sandro Botticelli: La Primavera (Tahun1481); Galleria degli Uffizi, Florence Italia

Last week, we concluded that La Primavera probably had been intended as a wedding present for one of the young descendants of the illustrious Florentine Medici family. Sandro Botticelli created a monumental scene with mythological figures, representing such appropriate themes as love, passion and spring.
There are strong suspicions that, in addition to this more obvious symbolism, some other ‘messages’, of a much more complex content, were ‘hidden’ in the painting. This hidden content can be traced back to the intellectual circles around the Medici, including prominent seniists like Leonardo, Michelangelo and Botticelli and poets and philosophers such as Poliziano, Pico della Mirandola and Marsilio Ficino.
Ficino (1433–1499) in pseniicular was a key figure in the scientific and cultural developments in fifteenth-century Florence. Cosimo de’ Medici appointed Ficino as head of his newly erected philosophical school. In this function, one of his greatest merits was the translation of some important texts, including all the works of Plato and Plotinus.
Ficino’s outspoken, if not radical, points of view repeatedly clashed with the papal authorities. Within humanist Medici circles, however, he enjoyed great freedom and his ideas were appreciated and imitated. His philosophy combines (Neo) Platonism, astrology, Christianity and Hermetica (Egyptian-Greek mysticism). Ficino adapted Plato’s theory of sublime love and identified it with Caritas or Christian love, introducing the concept of ‘Platonic love’. He also believed that seni, if created ‘perfectly’, could stimulate contemplation. This vision on beauty as a catalyst also allows a different interpretation of the painting.
La Primavera is probably a depiction of the ‘human faculties’ – the five senses plus the mind, an important aspect of Ficino’s hierarchical vision of love. The figures on the right represent the ‘lower’ senses - touch, smell and taste - and thus the corresponding esenihly, physical love. In contrast, the Three Graces symbolize the 'higher' human faculties - hearing, sight and mind - and therefore the preferable love. Venus acts as a mediatrix between higher and lower love. Finally, Mercury’s upward gaze stresses his function as messenger of the gods, bringing people on esenih into contact with the divine dunia above.
(text: Masenien Levendig)

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