Alessandro di Mariano di Vanni Filipepi
17 May 1510
1465 - 1505
Sandro Botticelli was an Italian painter of the Florentine school, working during the Early Renaissance. Little is known about his early life and education, other than he was apprenticed around the age of fourteen, which was a young age for an art apprentice. His master was Fra Filippo Lippi, who was influenced by Masaccio’s paintings, and taught Botticelli a delicate and detailed style. By 1470, Botticelli left the workshop of Lippi to open his own studio, and further developing a style that would become uniquely his.
In 1481, Botticelli was summoned by the Pope to complete some frescoes at the Sistine Chapel, but his contribution was shadowed by the works of the feuding Raphael and Michelangelo. In later years, he also painted many frescoes for Florentine churches, working alongside Filippino Lippi, Perugino, and Ghirlandaio. Near the end of his life, Botticelli was under the influence of Savonarola, an Italian Dominican friar, who was known for his book burning and destruction of immoral art. It is thought that at one point Botticelli cooperated with Savonarola, willingly watching some of his paintings be fed to the flames. Vasari, an early biographer of Botticelli, noted that after witnessing the death of his paintings, Botticelli became severely distressed, as well as without income, and may have quit painting altogether (although this is unlikely).
Due to a strong aversion to marriage, Botticelli never married, saying that the sheer idea gave him nightmares. After Botticelli’s death, his reputation and body of work fell to the wayside, often upstaged by the work of Michelangelo, especially his work at the Sistine Chapel. After the introduction of his works into the mainland of Europe and Britain, his fame slowly rose, until he was one of the most written-about painters of the 15th century.