Sandro Botticelli

botticelli's biography

Florence artist Sandro Botticelli, the son of a hide tanner, was a bright student who was easily sidetracked in class. Fortunately, his early talent was recognized, and he was withdrawn from school and placed on an apprenticeship. Between 1478 and 1490, Sandro Botticelli the artist was at his most innovative.


Sandro Botticelli was born in Florence in a house on the now-named Borgo Ognissanti Street. The Vespucci family were ardent Medici supporters who became regular Botticelli benefactors.

early training

Botticelli joined Fra Filippo Lippi’s studio around the close of the 1450s. Lippi's use of the feminine form and purity of line had a great effect on Botticelli’s style, notably in early works.

mature period

In 1472, Botticelli’s standing allowed him to join the Compagnia di San Luca, a society of Florentine painters. During this period, his initial work was done for churches in Florence.

mature period

Botticelli collaborated with a number of other important Florentine Renaissance painters. He did not get on well with everybody, however.

late period

Some speculate that he was out of employment at the end of his life when more scholarly, humanist artists gained popularity. Vasari claims that Botticelli was a slacker who wasted the money he earned previously.


Botticelli’s artwork reflected a growing awareness of anatomy and perspective but retained a decorative aspect not present in the art of the following High Renaissance artists, or for a long period of time afterward.


It wasn’t until the 19th century that his works were appreciated and revalued. Botticelli’s fame was overshadowed longer and more totally after his passing than just about any other prominent European painter.


Botticelli did paint portraits, but not quite that many have been credited to him. Traditional lore connects his portraits to the beautiful Simonetta Vespucci, who died in 1476 at the age of 21.

notable botticelli paintings

Madonna and Child (1467) Adoration of the Magi (1476) La Primavera (c. 1480) Venus and Mars (1483) The Birth of Venus (1485 - 1486)