a look at

Primavera by Botticelli

WHO WAs sandro botticelli?

Botticelli became a highly renowned Early Renaissance painter and had an active artist’s workshop. During the 1800s, his art was rediscovered by the Pre-Raphaelite Brotherhood.

historical overview

The Primavera painting, the word meaning “spring” in Italian, depicts a scene with several mythological figures in an orange grove. However, the meaning of this portrayal has been unclear to many.

historical overview

Vasari wrote about this painting and saw it alongside Botticelli’s other famous painting, The Birth of Venus (c. 1485), which has often been described as its “companion” painting.

subject matter

In Primavera, there are nine figures set in a verdant landscape, an orange grove. Surrounding them are several orange trees and other types of foliage. The first figure is the Roman god Mercury, who is usually described as the “messenger of the gods”.


There are three dancing female figures to Mercury’s left. They are known as the Three Graces, or Charites. They represent ideals of beauty, fertility, and charm and are depicted wearing soft and silken dresses.


We see Venus, the Roman goddess of love, in the center of the composition. She stands further into the background than the other figures. Her head is tilted slightly to her right and her right hand is lifted at her waist.

subject matter

The figure to the far right is Zephyrus, the god of the wind. His entire figure and clothing are in a bluish color. We see him emerging from between tree trunks, resolutely grabbing onto Chloris.


There is an overall color harmony in the painting because there are no harsh or bright colors that stand out, yet there is a notable contrast between the fair-skinned figures and the darker trees and foliage.


Botticelli portrayed different textures in a beautiful and masterful manner. This is particularly evident in the figures’ costumes, for example, the dresses worn by the female figures.


There are a variety of forms in La Primavera, notably the figures in the foreground, who appear loose and fluid in their gestures and motions. Botticelli depicted the figures anatomically elongated, which was a common characteristic of his style.


The Primavera painting is often described as the largest-scale Early Renaissance painting that depicts mythological subject matter.