A true historical detective story full of insight about how we look at art―and the artists and eras that produced it
Some five hundred years ago, Sandro Botticelli, a painter of humble origin, created work of unearthly beauty. An intimate associate of Florence's unofficial rulers, the Medici, he was commissioned by a member of their family to execute a near-impossible project: to illustrate all one hundred cantos of The Divine Comedy by the city's greatest poet, Dante Alighieri.
A powerful encounter between poet and artist, sacred and secular, earthly and evanescent, these drawings produced a wealth of stunning images but were never finished. Botticelli declined into poverty and obscurity, and his illustrations went missing for four hundred years.
The nineteenth-century rediscovery of Botticelli's Dante drawings brought scholars to their knees: this work embodied everything the Renaissance had come to mean. Today, Botticelli's Primavera adorns household objects of every kind.
This book is essential to explain not only how and why this artist became iconic but why we still need his work―and the spirit of the Renaissance―today.