( Originally Published 1955 )
One of the most important and individual figures of the late fifteenth-century Florentine school. His art was closely associated with the humanist culture and learning centered in the ruling circle of the Medici family, and especially with Lorenzo the Magnificent. With Botticelli begins the trend toward poetic and philosophical expression in art that depends on the interests of its patrons and that characterizes much' of the painting of the High Renaissance after 1500: Stylistically, Botticelli is an vousness quite at variance with the relaxed grace of his earlier work. After 1500 Botticelli appears to have painted little, and no work after this date is extant. A large group of drawings illustrating Dante's Divine Comedy are preserved in Berlin and in the Vatican Library. They were begun for the Medici about 1485, and left unfinished when the patrons fled the city. Botticelli's pupil Filippino Lippi carried on his lyrical and linear style, giving it a personal and rather mannered aspect.