Primavera.
Love and the Gods.

  The "Primavera" is one of a series of mythological works executed by Botticelli after his return from Rome in 1482. The painting was commissioned by a cousin of Lorenzo Medici, Lorenzo di Pierfrancesco, who was to become a faithful patron of Botticelli's work.

 The picture was hung in the bed-chamber along with another work by Botticelli, "Pallas and the Centaur", and is listed in an inventory of the contents of Pierfrancesco's Florentine palace. It was probably painted as a celebration of the marriage of Lorenzo di Pierfrancesco de' Medici in 1482.

Botticelli,s famous mythalogical painting, Primavera.
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"Primavera" c1482.
Uffizi, Florence 203x314cm Tempera on panel. (w)

 The picture celebrates the arrival of spring and is filled with mythological symbolism. Venus, Goddess of Love, is in the centre of an orange grove on her left Flora, Goddess of Flowers and Spring, appears clad in garlands of flowers. Next to Flora is the nymph Chloris, she is pursued by Zephyrus, God of Wind, who has a burning passion for her. The Roman poet Ovid describes Chloris as transforming into Flora, Goddess of Flowers, symbolising the beginning of spring, and Botticelli has placed both figures side by side within the same painting.


On the right of Venus are The three Graces, female companions of the Love Goddess who perform their dance at the onset of spring. Next to the Graces stands Mercury, Messenger of the Gods, who inspects the orange grove and protects the garden from intruders.

Floating overhead at the centre of the picture is Amor, the son of Venus, he is blindfolded as he shoots his arrows of love, their flaming tips certain to intensify the emotion of love in whoever they strike.

The primary source for the picture comes from a poem, "De Rerum Natura", by the classical poet and philosopher Lucretius. This and the "Fasti", Ovid's Roman calendar, provided the inspiration for Botticelli's Painting.

The nymph Chloris chased by  Zephyrus, God of Winds
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 Zephyrus and Chloris. (s) Detail.

See how well Botticelli has captured the emotion on the face of the nymph Chloris as she is seized by Zephyrus, God of Winds, and begins her transformation into Flora, Goddess of Flowers.

The three graces and Mercury by Botticelli.
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 The three Graces and Mercury, Detail. (s)

These superbly drawn figures add to the charm and mystery of one of Botticelli's most complex and analysed paintings.