Although many consider him to have been one of the Italian Renaissance’s great masters, the appreciation of Sandro Botticelli’s life and career has fluctuated, itself experiencing a renaissance during the 19th century through the English Pre-Raphaelite movement. On view now in Berlin is a monumental exhibition that traces this evolution.
Today it seems impossible to believe that for nearly 400 years after his death, the paintings of Italian master Sandro Botticelli (1445-1510) largely went unnoticed. Thankfully, during the late 19th century many English painters within the Pre-Raphaelite movement were greatly drawn to his work, igniting a rebirth of appreciation for Botticelli that began within artist circles and continues today among the public at large.

Sandro Botticelli, “Venus,” ca. 1490, (c) Staatliche Museen zu Berlin 2015

Featuring more than 50 original paintings by Botticelli along with over 150 other masterpieces, “The Botticelli Renaissance” is a major exhibition at the Gemäldegalerie in Berlin, which highlights this evolution from obscurity to international acclaim. The exhibition will present a multitude of artworks from across history and in various forms and styles. Via the exhibition website, “The exhibition traces the fascinating history of these shifting appropriations and re-evaluations right up to the present and is the first to present the artist’s work — a selection of more than fifty originals by Botticelli — in the context of these adaptations and interpretations in a wide range of media spanning painting, drawing, sculpture, photography, video, fashion and design. Among the 150 works on display are numerous masterpieces by artists such as Edgar Degas, Edward Burne-Jones, Dante Gabriel Rossetti, René Magritte, Andy Warhol, Cindy Sherman and Bill Viola on loan from the world’s leading collections.”

Edgar Degas, “Venus (After Botticelli),” ca. 1858-1859, (c) Peter Schälchli, Zürich 2015

William Bouguereau, “Birth of Venus,” ca. 1879, oil on linen, (c) Musee d’Orsay, Paris 2015

“The Botticelli Renaissance” opened on September 24 and will be on view through January 24.
To learn more, visit the Gemäldegalerie.  
This article was featured in Fine Art Today, a weekly e-newsletter from Fine Art Connoisseur magazine. To start receiving Fine Art Today for free, click here.

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Andrew Webster is the former Editor of Fine Art Today and worked as an editorial and creative marketing assistant for Streamline Publishing. Andrew graduated from The University of North Carolina at Asheville with a B.A. in Art History and Ceramics. He then moved on to the University of Oregon, where he completed an M.A. in Art History. Studying under scholar Kathleen Nicholson, he completed a thesis project that investigated the peculiar practice of embedded self-portraiture within Christian imagery during the 15th and early 16th centuries in Italy.


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