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Botticelli Reimagined - Exhibition at Victoria and Albert Museum

By Edited Mar 7, 2016 1 0

How have artists such as Sandro Botticelli (1445-1510), influenced designers and artists from the Pre-Raphaelites to the present day? 

Botticelli Reimagined, a major exhibition at the Victoria and Albert Museum, answers this question through more than one hundred works of art assembled from across the globe. Botticelli's continuing influence is clearly visible in art, design, fashion and film. 

Co-curated by Mark Evans, Senior Paintings Curator at the V&A, and Ana Debenedetti, Curator of Paintings at the V&A, this landmark display is sponsored by Societe Generale.

Sandro Botticelli - Self-Portrait

Sandro Botticelli Self-Portrait
Credit: Botticelli Reimagined, V&A (5 March-3 July 2016). Copyright image by Frances Spiegel. All rights reserved.
Botticelli Reimagined
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Sandro Botticelli - the Forgotten Artist

Famed during his lifetime, Sandro Botticelli, seems to have been almost forgotten for over three hundred years. It wasn't until the 19th century that his work was gradually rediscovered leading to his recognition as one of the greatest artists of all time. This is the largest Botticelli exhibition to take place in Britain since 1930. 

Highlights of the Exhibition - Botticelli's Legacy

Speaking recently, Martin Roth, Director of the V and A Museum, described Sando Botticelli as one of the greatest Renaissance artists of all time. Roth said: “five hundred years after his death his celebrated imagery has come full circle to represent a contemporary ideal of beauty.”

Fifty original works by Botticelli are on display side-by-side with paintings, fashions, film footage, drawings, photographs, tapestry, sculpture and prints by artists inspired by him. 

The exhibition showcases the responses of artists over the last five hundred years through works by Edward Burne-Jones, René Magritte, William Morris, Dante Gabriel Rossetti, Elsa Schiaparelli, Cindy Sherman, Andy Warhol and many others. 

Featuring items from the V and A's remarkable Botticelli collection, the exhibition draws on the expertise of institutions such as Gemäldegalerie – Staatliche Museen zu Berlin, to examine the artist's work. This presentation explains the resurgence of the artist's reputation and tells us why his works are so memorable. Even when Botticelli's reputation was only just beginning to grow the Gemäldegalerie already possessed several of his works.

 

Botticelli (Basic Art)
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Botticelli Reimagined - Layout of the Exhibition

The exhibition is set out in three key sections: 

  • Global, Modern, Contemporary

  • Rediscovery

  • Botticelli in his Own Time

Global, Modern, Contemporary

Global, Modern, Contemporary shows why Botticelli's work is so well-regarded in the 21st Century. This section, inspired by The Birth of Venus, (1482), which cannot leave its permanent home in the Uffizi Gallery, features works by a number of artists including Andy Warhol, Yin Xin, David LaChapelle and Reineke Dikjstra, all of whom have responded to The Birth of Venus so individually.

A dress and trouser suit of patchwork panels inspired by The Birth of Venus from Dolce & Gabbana’s S/S 1993 collection show Botticelli's influence on fashion. Several film sequences show his continuing influence on film.

David LaChapelle, Rebirth of Venus

David LaChapelle The Rebirth of Venus
Credit: Botticelli Reimagined, V&A (5 March-3 July 2016). Copyright image by Frances Spiegel. All rights reserved.

Rediscovery

Rediscovery, inspired by Botticelli's legendary Primavera, which cannot leave the Uffizi, examines the influence of his art on the Pre-Raphaelites in the mid-19th century.

Collectors, including Dante Gabriel Rossetti, and Edward Burne-Jones, also reinterpreted Botticelli's works. Rossetti’s La Ghirlandata (1873) and Burne-Jones’ The Mill: Girls Dancing to Music by a River (1870-82) feature in the exhibition. Other works on display include William Morris’ The Orchard (1890); Evelyn De Morgan’s Flora (1894), as well as the only surviving film footage of Isadora Duncan dancing (c.1900). Botticelli's European influence is demonstrated by works by Jean-Auguste-Dominique Ingres, Arnold Böcklin and Giulio Aristide Sartorio.  

Dante Gabriel Rossetti, La Ghirlandata

Dante Gabriel Rosetti La Ghirlandata, 1873
Credit: Botticelli Reimagined, V&A (5 March-3 July 2016). Copyright image by Frances Spiegel. All rights reserved.

Edward Burne-Jones, The Mill: Girls Dancing to Music by a River

Edward Burne-Jones The Mill: Girls Dancing to Music by a River
Credit: Botticelli Reimagined, V&A (5 March-3 July 2016). Copyright image by Frances Spiegel. All rights reserved.

Botticelli in his Own Time

Botticelli in his own Time – The last part of the show sets Botticelli in the context of his own time.

Including his only signed and dated painting, The Mystic Nativity (1500), this section shows him to be a highly skilled artist and superb designer who ran an incredibly successful workshop.

Botticelli in his own Time features several variations on the Virgin and Child theme showing Botticelli's creativity as a designer. Also on display are five drawings of Dante's Divine Comedy showing his expertise as a draughtsman.

The exhibition culminates with the Victoria and Albert's Portrait of a Lady Known as Smeralda Bandinelli (c. 1470-5) and two full-length paintings of Venus, recalling The Birth of Venus.

Sandro Botticelli, The Mystic Nativity

Sandro Botticelli Mystic Nativity, 1500
Credit: Botticelli Reimagined, V&A (5 March-3 July 2016). Copyright image by Frances Spiegel. All rights reserved.
Under the Guise of Spring: The Message Hidden in Botticelli's Primavera
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Portrait of the Lady known as Smeralda Bandinelli - New Scientific Research

Restored especially for the exhibition, Portrait of the Lady known as Smeralda Bandinelli (c.1470-5) is perhaps one of the most important paintings in the V and A's collection. Originally purchased in 1867 by Dante Gabriel Rossetti, this work has been in the collection for over one hundred years. It seems that Rossetti believed the sitter was the model for the figure of Venus in Botticelli's Primavera. 

New scientific research ends more than one hundred years of speculation over Smeralda's reddish-blonde hair. V&A experts have confirmed that Botticelli did paint the hair and that it is not a later intervention by Rossetti who was renowned for his red-headed sitters.

Botticelli Reimagined will be on show at the Victoria and Albert Museum from 5th March to 3rd July 2016. Tickets and further information are available from the V&A

 

Sandro Botticelli, Portrait of the Lady known as Smeralda Bandinelli

Sandro Botticelli Portrait of a Lady Known as Smeralda Bandinelli 1470-85
Credit: Botticelli Reimagined, V&A (5 March-3 July 2016). Copyright image by Frances Spiegel. All rights reserved.
Botticelli (Temporis Collection)
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Getting to the Victoria and Albert Museum

Get Directions
Cromwell Rd, Kensington, London, UK
Tate British Artists: Dante Gabriel Rossetti
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Botticelli Reimagined - Exhibition at London's V&A

Botticelli Reimagined - Exhibition at V&A Museum, London Fran5050 2016-03-02 5.0 0 5
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