The botanical abundance of Sandro Botticelli's "Primavera"

Primavera by Sandro Botticelli.

Nine mythological figures appearing in an orange grove surrounded by hundreds of varieties of plants, with over 200 hundred flowers depicted, this jewel in the Uffizi Gallery crown bursts with spring flora. 

This botanical abundance, and its scattered, almost wallpaper-like rendering, has a striking reference to millefleur (or “thousand flower”) Flemish tapestries, which were common in many palaces of Botticelli’s  age.

Rich in beauty and symbolism, with references to classical and renaissance poetry and literature, it is unknown when Botticelli made the painting (although scholars agree it was the 1470s or early 1480s).

Detail of Primavera by Sandro Botticelli.

In Renaissance Italy, Neoplatonic artists and thinkers sought to synthesize or draw parallels between the beliefs of classical antiquity and Christianity. Venus, for instance, was considered the classical embodiment of both earthly and divine love, and therefore a precursor or parallel to the Virgin Mary.

Botticelli makes these allusions subtly in his depiction of Venus. The bend of the tree branches behind the figure form a kind of halo, and her belly swells in what some had considered a depiction of pregnancy. Moreover, Venus raises her hand in a gesture of recognition and invitation that mirrors Mary’s gestures to the angel Gabriel in contemporaneous Annunciation scenes, including Botticelli’s Cestello Annunciation of 1481. (noted in an article written by Katie White for Artnet, January 15, 2021).

“Botticelli suggests the gradual process of metamorphosis through time,” art historian Paul Barolsky noted in his essay, “Botticelli’s ‘Primavera’ as an Allegory of its Own Creation.” The artist accomplishes this, for example, “by first showing the silhouettes of flowers through the veil of Chloris’s dress, only faintly suggesting the form that these flowers will take when they eventually adorn Flora’s dress,” and in numerous clever visual puns scattered throughout the painting. 

Detail of Primavera by Sandro Botticelli.


A perfect companion to contemplating the beauty of Botticelli's Primavera painting is BLOSSOM, a floral/green/fern fougère fragrant candle infused with aldehydic white blossoms, nesting upon the scent of dry warm grass and oriental wood.This candle is abundantly filled with the botanical essence of lily of the valley, jasmine, bergamot, lavender, patchouli and vetiver.

Blossom candle.

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