Botticelli’s Secret: The Lost Drawings and the Rediscovery of the Renaissance

Botticelli’s Secret: The Lost Drawings and the Rediscovery of the Renaissance

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Some five hundred years ago, Sandro Botticelli, a painter of humble origin, created works of unearthly beauty. A star of Florence’s art world, he was commissioned by a member of the city’s powerful Medici family to execute a near-impossible project: to illustrate all one hundred cantos of The Divine Comedy by Dante Alighieri, the ultimate visual homage to that “divine” poet. After a lifetime of creating masterpieces including Primavera and The Birth of Venus, Botticelli declined into poverty and obscurity. His Dante project remained unfinished. Then the drawings vanished for over four hundred years. The once famous Botticelli himself was forgotten.

The nineteenth-century rediscovery of Botticelli’s Dante drawings brought scholars and art lovers to their knees: this work embodied everything the Renaissance had come to mean.

A combination of artistic detective story and rich intellectual history, Botticelli’s Secret shows not only how the Renaissance came to life, but also how Botticelli’s art helped bring it about―and, most important, why we need the Renaissance and all that it stands for today.

Hardcover
352 pp.
6 x 9"

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