On February 7, 1497, Savonarola held the infamous bonfire of the vanities, at which supposedly sinful objects including artworks and books were destroyed. The truth is lost to history, but it has been said that Botticelli was compelled to burn his mythological paintings at the priest's behest.
Savonarola gave powerful sermons in which he accused the city of Florence of being morally corrupt and materialistic. Swayed by Savonarola's conservative religious message, Botticelli burned many of his own paintings, especially his earlier more secular works.
After Giuliano de' Medici's assassination in the Pazzi conspiracy of 1478, it was Botticelli who painted the defamatory fresco of the hanged conspirators on a wall of the Palazzo Vecchio. The frescoes were destroyed after the expulsion of the Medici in 1494.
The Fate of the Venus and Mars Painting
The finale in part one of the series shows Venus and Mars being burned on a bonfire after the events of the Pazzi conspiracy. We see Botticelli devastated, and this symbolizes the deaths of the two loves of his life – his friend Giuliano and his muse Simonetta.
With members of the influential Medici family as his top patrons, Botticelli received many high-profile commissions, some of which are considered the Renaissance movement's best achievements.
After Giuliano de' Medici's assassination in the Pazzi conspiracy of 1478, it was Botticelli who painted the defamatory fresco of the hanged conspirators on a wall of the Palazzo Vecchio.
For an artist, such influences affect how they see the world and make it into art. Both people and place influenced the life of Sandro Botticelli, another great painter of Renaissance Italy alongside Leonardo da Vinci. It is certain that the two men would have met; perhaps they were even close friends.
Botticelli is said to have burned some of his pagan work at the infamous Bonfire of the Vanities. Sandro Botticelli, Adoration of the Magi (circa 1475).
Having made many powerful enemies, the Dominican friar and puritan fanatic Girolamo Savonarola was executed on 23 May 1498. Girolamo Savonarola, Dominican friar and puritan fanatic, became moral dictator of the city of Florence when the Medici were temporarily driven out in 1494.
She was Simonetta Cattaneo de Candia. She was reputed to be the most beautiful woman in Florence at the time and Botticelli painted her in two of his most famous paintings – Primavera and the Birth of Venus.
Botticelli is bured at Chiesa di San Salvatore in Ognissanti, Florence. His burial place is marked by the circular emblem on the floor, while the banner emblem marks the burial place of noblewoman Simonetta Vesspucci.
The Birth of Venus was painted around 1484 to 1486.
The Birth of Venus (French: Naissance de Venus) is a painting by the French artist Alexandre Cabanel. It was painted in 1863, and is now in the Musée d'Orsay in Paris.
He was opposed by the Arrabiati, supporters of the Medici, and by Pope Alexander VI, who attempted to restrain his unusual interpretations of scripture and his claim of prophecy. Savonarola was tried, convicted of heresy (1498), and hanged and burned in 1498.
Sandro Botticelli, Portrait of Michele Marullo, circa 1500. Courtesy Trinity Fine Art. A portrait believed to be the last painting by Sandro Botticelli still in private hands will be for sale next month at the Frieze Masters fair in London.
The main source to properly decode Botticelli's The Birth of Venus painting according to many art historians is to be found in the Neoplatonic interpretations, which claim that Botticelli wanted to represent the Neoplatonic idea and meaning of divine love in the form of a nude Venus.
When Lorenzo died in 1492, Savonarola forgave him on his deathbed.
In declining health for some three years, Lorenzo died on April 9, 1492, at age 43. While on his deathbed, he was visited by Girolamo Savonarola, a Christian preacher and reformer who would overthrow Medici rule in Florence two years later.
Today, 7 February, is the anniversary of the Bonfire of the Vanities, when, in 1497, great piles of mirrors, dice, playing cards, clothes, sculptures, artworks and other luxury goods were burned in Florence's Piazza della Signoria.
In the late 1460s, Botticelli is also thought to have been active in Andrea del Verrocchio's workshop better known today for his sculpture than his painting, and the influence is evident in the sculptural contours of Botticelli's figures.
Botticelli's painting celebrated Cosimo il Vecchio, Piero il Gottoso, Giuliano de'Medici and his brother Lorenzo, all gathered around the Holy Family. Surrounding them, were their closest friends and allies, scholars, politicians and businessmen. And, like Gozzoli's tribute, the painting also featured a self-portrait.
The Primavera Composition
The figures represented are: at far right Zephyrus, the wind of March, who kidnaps the nymph Chloris, marries her and transforms her into a deity; she becomes Flora, the goddess of Spring, eternal bearer of life, and is scattering roses on the ground.