Queer Places:
Ognissanti, Borgo Ognissanti, 42, 50123 Firenze FI, Italia

Image result for Sandro BotticelliAlessandro di Mariano di Vanni Filipepi (March 1, 1445[2] – May 17, 1510), known as Sandro Botticelli, was an Italian painter of the Early Renaissance. He belonged to the Florentine School under the patronage of Lorenzo de' Medici, a movement that Giorgio Vasari would characterize less than a hundred years later in his Vita of Botticelli as a "golden age". Botticelli's posthumous reputation suffered until the late 19th century; since then, his work has been seen to represent the linear grace of Early Renaissance painting.

As well as the small number of mythological subjects which are his best known works today, he painted a wide range of religious subjects and also some portraits. He and his workshop were especially known for their Madonna and Childs, many in the round tondo shape. Botticelli's best-known works are The Birth of Venus and Primavera, both in the Uffizi in Florence. He lived all his life in the same neighbourhood of Florence, with probably his only significant time elsewhere the months he spent painting in Pisa in 1474 and the Sistine Chapel in Rome in 1481–82.[3]

Only one of his paintings is dated, though others can be dated from other records with varying degrees of certainty, and the development of his style traced with confidence. He was an independent master for all the 1470s, growing in mastery and reputation, and the 1480s were his most successful decade, when all his large mythological paintings were done, and many of his best Madonnas. By the 1490s his style became more personal and to some extent mannered, and he could be seen as moving in a direction opposite to that of a new generation of painters, creating the High Renaissance style just as Botticelli returned in some ways to the Gothic.

He has been described as "an outsider in the mainstream of Italian painting", who had a limited interest in many of the developments most associated with Quattrocento painting, such as the realistic depiction of human anatomy, perspective, and landscape, and the use of direct borrowings from classical art. His training enabled him to represent all these aspects of painting, without contributing to their development.[4]

Botticelli never married, and apparently expressed a strong dislike of the idea of marriage. An anecdote records that his patron Tommaso Soderini, who died in 1485, suggested he marry, to which Botticelli replied that a few days before he had dreamed that he had married, woke up "struck with grief", and for the rest of the night walked the streets to avoid the dream resuming if he slept again. The story concludes cryptically that Soderini understood "that he was not fit ground for planting vines".[139]

There has been over a century of speculation that Botticelli himself may actually have been homosexual. Many writers observed homo-eroticism in his portraits. The American art historian, Bernard Berenson, for example, detecting what he believed to be latent homosexuality.[140] In 1938, Jacques Mesnil discovered a summary of a charge in the Florentine Archives for November 16, 1502, which read simply "Botticelli keeps a boy", an accusation of sodomy (homosexuality). No prosecution was brought. The painter would then have been about fifty-eight. Mesnil dismissed it as a customary slander by which partisans and adversaries of Savonarola abused each other. Opinion remains divided on whether this is evidence of bisexuality or homosexuality.[141] Many have backed Mesnil,[142]; the art historian, Scott Nethersole, has suggested that a quarter of men in Florentine were the subject of similar accusations, which "seems to have been a standard way of getting at people".[143] but others have cautioned against hasty dismissal of the charge.[144] Mesnil nevertheless concluded "woman was not the only object of his love".[145]

The Renaissance art historian, James Saslow, has noted that: "His [Botticelli's] homo-erotic sensibility surfaces mainly in religious works where he imbued such nude young saints as Sebastian with the same androgynous grace and implicit physicality as Donatello's David, [146]


  1. Ettlingers, 7. Other sources give 1446, 1447 or 1444–45.
  2. Ettlingers, 7. Other sources give 1446, 1447 or 1444–45.
  3. Ettlingers, 199; Lightbown, 53 on the Pisa work, which does not survive
  4. Ettlingers, 199–204, 203 quoted
  5. Lightbown, 17–19
  6. Ettlingers, 7
  7. Lightbown, 19
  8. He was still in school in February 1458 (Lightbown, 19). According to Vasari, 147, he was an able pupil, but easily grew restless, and was initially apprenticed as a goldsmith.
  9. Lightbown, 18
  10. Lightbown, 18
  11. Lightbown, 18–19
  12. Ettlingers, 12
  13. Lightbown, 18–19
  14. Ettlingers, 7
  15. Lightbown, 20–26
  16. Lightbown, 22, 25
  17. Lightbown, 26; but see Hartt, 324, saying "Botticelli was active in the shop of Verrocchio".
  18. Dempsey, Hartt, 324; Legouix, 8
  19. Lightbown, 52; they were the Sei della Mercanzia, a tribunal of six judges, chosed by the main Guilds of Florence.
  20. Lightbown, 46 (quoted); Ettlingers, 19–22
  21. Ettlingers, 17–18
  22. Ettlingers, 18
  23. Lightbown, 50
  24. Lightbown, 50–51
  25. the Pollaiuolo brothers' painting, now National Gallery, London
  26. Lightbown, 51–52; Ettlingers, 22–23
  27. Lightbown, 52
  28. Hartt, 324
  29. Lightbown, 65–69; Vasari, 150–152; Hartt, 324–325
  30. Ettlingers, 10
  31. Hartt, 325–326; Ettlingers, 10; Dempsey
  32. Lightbown, 70
  33. Lightbown, 77
  34. Lightbown, 73–78, 74 quoted
  35. Lightbown, 77 (different translation to same effect)
  36. Shearman, 38–42, 47; Lightbown, 90–92; Hartt, 326
  37. Shearman, 47; Hartt, 326; Martines, Chapter 10 for the hostilities.
  38. Shearman, 70–75; Hartt, 326–327
  39. Shearman, 47
  40. Hartt, 327; Shearman, 47
  41. Hartt, 326–327; Lightbown, 92–94, thinks no one was, but that Botticelli set the style for the figures of the popes.
  42. Lightbown, 90–92, 97–99, 105–106; Hartt, 327; Shearman, 47, 50–75
  43. Hartt, 327
  44. Lightbown, 99–105
  45. Lightbown, 96–97
  46. Lightbown, 106–108; Ettlingers, 202
  47. Lightbown, 111–113
  48. Lightbown, 90, 94
  49. Covered at length in: Lightbown, Ch. 7 & 8; Wind, Ch. V, VII and VIII; Ettlingers, Ch. 3; Dempsey; Hartt, 329–334
  50. R. W. Lightbown (1978). Sandro Botticelli: Life and work. University of California Press. p. 25. ISBN 05-20033-72-8. During the colouring Botticelli strengthened many of the contours by means of a pointed instrument, probably to give them the bold clarity so characteristic of his linear style.
  51. Inventory publication
  52. Lightbown, 122–123; 152–153; Smith, Webster, "On the Original Location of the Primavera", The Art Bulletin, vol. 57, no. 1, 1975, pp. 31–40. JSTOR
  53. Lightbown, 164–168; Dempsey; Ettlingers, 138–141, with a later date.
  54. Lightbown, 148–152; Legouix, 113
  55. Lightbown, 180
  56. Dempsey
  57. Hartt, 329. According to Leonardo, Botticelli anticipated the method of some 18th century watercolourists by claiming that a landscape could be begun by throwing a sponge loaded with paint at the panel.
  58. Ettlingers, 11
  59. Ettlingers, 11
  60. Lightbown, 211–213
  61. Lightbown, 182
  62. Lightbown, 180–185; Ettlingers, 72–74
  63. Legouix, 38
  64. Lightbown, 180; Ettlingers, 73
  65. Lightbown, 184
  66. Ettlingers, 73
  67. Lightbown, 187–190; Legouix, 31, 42
  68. Lightbown, 198–200; Legouix, 42–44
  69. Lightbown, 194–198; Legouix, 103
  70. Lightbown, 207–209; Legouix, 107, 109
  71. Lightbown dates the Munich picture to 1490–92, and the Milan one to c. 1495
  72. Lightbown, 202–207
  73. Lightbown, 82
  74. Lightbown, 47
  75. Lightbown, 47–50
  76. Lightbown, 82
  77. Dempsey
  78. Ettlingers, 80; Lightbown, 82, 185–186
  79. Ettlingers, 81–84
  80. Campbell, 6
  81. Ettlingers, 164
  82. Ettlingers, 171; Lightbown, 54–57
  83. Ettlingers, 156
  84. Ettlingers, 156, 163–164, 168–172
  85. Lightbown, 54. This appears to exclude the idealized females, and certainly the portraits included in larger works.
  86. Campbell, 12
  87. Ettlingers, 156–164
  88. Campbell, 56, 136–136
  89. The evidence for this identification is in fact slender to non-existent. Ettlingers, 168; Legouix, 64
  90. Davies, 98-99
  91. Lightbown, 16–17, 86–87
  92. Dante's features were well-known, from his death mask and several earlier paintings. Botticelli's aquiline version influenced many later depictions.
  93. Vasari, 152, 154
  94. Landau, 35, 38
  95. Vasari, 152, a different translation
  96. Lightbown, 89; Landau, 108; Dempsey
  97. Lightbown, 302
  98. Lightbown, 280; some are drawn on both sides of the sheet.
  99. Dempsey; Lightbown, 280–282, 290
  100. Landau, 95
  101. Hartt, 323
  102. Lightbown, 11, 58; Dempsey
  103. Lightbown, 58
  104. Lightbown, 58–59
  105. Lightbown, 42–50; Dempsey
  106. Lightbown, 58–65, believes it is Giuliano, and the Washington version probably pre-dates his death; the Ettlingers, 168, are sceptical it is Giuliano at all. The various museums with versions still support the identification.
  107. Ettlingers, 164; Clark, 372 note for p. 92 quote.
  108. Vasari, 152
  109. Vasari, 152
  110. Hartt, 335–336; Davies, 105–106; Ettlingers, 13–14
  111. Ettlingers, 14; Vasari, 152
  112. Lightbown, 302
  113. Ettlingers, 14; Legouix, 18
  114. Legouix, 18; Dempsey
  115. Dempsey
  116. Legouix, 18; Ettlingers, 203
  117. Lightbown, 230–237; Legouix, 114;
  118. Lightbown, 260–269; Legouix, 82–83
  119. Davies, 103–106
  120. Lightbown, 221–223
  121. Lightbown, 248–253; Dempsey; Ettlingers, 96–103
  122. Lightbown, 242–247; Ettlingers, 103–105. Lightbown connects it more specifically to Savonarola than the Ettlingers.
  123. Legouix, 11–12; Dempsey
  124. Hartt, 334, 337
  125. Steinmann, Ernst, Botticelli, 26–28
  126. Lightbown, 303–304
  127. Vasari, 154
  128. Lightbown, 305; Ettlingers, 15
  129. Lightbown, 17
  130. Vasari, 155
  131. Lightbown, 296–298: Ettlingers, 175-178, who are more ready to connect studies to surviving paintings.
  132. Legouix, 8; Lightbown, 311, 314
  133. Lightbown, 314
  134. Ettlingers, 79
  135. Lightbown, 312
  136. National Gallery page; see Davies, 97 for a slightly different view, and Lightbown, 311 for a very different one.
  137. Vasari, 154
  138. Ettlingers, 12–14
  139. Lightbown, 44
  140. Hudson
  141. Louis Crompton, Homosexuality and Civilization, Harvard University, 2003
  142. Michael Rocke, Forbidden Friendships: Homosexuality and Male Culture in Renaissance Florence, Oxford University Press, 1996, ISBN 9780195069754; Lightbown, 302
  143. Scott Nethersole (Courtauld Institute), quoted in Hudson
  144. Andre Chastel, Art et humanisme a Florence au temps de Laurent le Magnifique, Presses Universitaires de France, 1959
  145. Jacques Mesnil, Botticelli, Paris, 1938
  146. James Saslow, Ganymede in the Renaissance: Homosexuality in art and society, Yale University Pres, New Haven, 1986, p88
  147. Primavera and The Birth of Venus remained in the Grand Ducal Medici villa of Castello until 1815. (Levey 1960:292
  148. Ettlingers, 204
  149. Ettlingers, 203
  150. Lightbown, 16–17; Vasari, 147–155
  151. Lightbown, 14
  152. Ettlingers, 204
  153. Ettlingers, 204
  154. Davies, 106
  155. Reitlinger, 99, 127
  156. Pre-Raphaelite Art in the Victoria & Albert Museum, Suzanne Fagence Cooper, p.95-96 ISBN 1-85177-394-0
  157. Dempsey; Lightbown, 328–329, with a list marking which "are of a certain importance"; Michael Levey, "Botticelli and Nineteenth-Century England" Journal of the Warburg and Courtauld Institutes 23.3/4 (July 1960:291–306); Ettlingers, 205
  158. Lightbown, 328; Dempsey, Legouix, 127
  159. Ettlingers, 205 quoted, 208
  160. Clarke, Stewart (10 August 2017). "Daniel Sharman and Bradley James Join Netflix's 'Medici' (EXCLUSIVE)". Variety. Retrieved 11 August 2017.
  161. "29361 Botticelli (1996 CY)". JPL Small-Body Database Browser. Jet Propulsion Laboratories. 2012-04-09. Retrieved 2014-02-19.