Photo: Primavera (1482), icon of the springtime renewal of the Florentine Renaissance, also at the summer palazzo of Pierfrancesco de' Medici, as a companion piece to The Birth of Venus and Pallas and the Centaur. Seen from left to right are Mercury, the Three Graces, Venus, Flora, Chloris and Zephyrus.
The masterpieces of Sandro Botticelli, Primavera (1482) and The Birth of Venus (1485) were seen at the villa of Lorenzo di Pierfrancesco de' Medici at Castello in the mid-16th century, and until recently, it was assumed that both works were painted specifically for the villa. But recent studies suggest the Primavera was painted for Lorenzo's townhouse in Florence, and The Birth of Venus was commissioned by someone else for a different site. The influence of Gothic realism is tempered by Botticelli's study of the antique. But the subjects themselves remain fascinating for their ambiguity. The complex meanings of these paintings continue to receive widespread scholarly attention.