Botticelli's "The Primavera"
Finding the Easter Eggs Hidden within
Some of them more difficult and others far more simple such as the fact that Primavera means “Spring”. Of course most Spanish speakers would already know this information considering the translation is the same.
The grouping of the figures within the orange grove also cements that fact that this is indeed “Spring”.
Below are some more easter eggs of information.
- The figure in the center is the Roman Goddess Venus.
- The painting uses a low amount of perspective, giving it a flatter overall feel.
- Many of the figures have limbs which are long, slender, and are elegant. This is because the art of this type was in high demand in the courts of Florence
- Venus’ position and placement of art around her give her a place of prominence and is a reflection of the humanist interests of the classical world in Florence during this period. She is made to appear as an idealized woman.
- Just to the right of Mercury (the man in red) is a group called "The Three Graces” who appeared to be involved in a dance of sorts. They represent Chastity, Beauty, and Love. They provide a romantic context to the painting.
- "The Three Graces" were described by the writer Seneca as “pure and undefiled and holy in the eyes of all”. The pearls on top of their heads are a symbol of this aspect.
- Cupid targeting them reinforces this idea of them being seen in the image of marriage.
- The blue figure on the far right is Zephyrus, the west wind.
- Zephyrus is taking a nymph called Chloris far away after to which they will become married and Chloris becomes Flora the Goddess of Spring. Flora is the figure to the left of Chloris.
- Flora is throwing flowers that she has gathered up, which is a way of showing both springtime and fertility.
- The painting is heavily allegorical in meaning with its physical manifestations of seasons and elements into beings. Judging from this, it’s very likely that it is pointing to the idea of a marriage in Springtime.
- The orange grove setting is telling because the Medici had adopted the orange tree as their family symbol at the time.
- The painting would have have first been seen by Lorenzo Pierfrancesco’s wife after their wedding. For this reason, Cupid targeting "The Three Graces" has a particular meaning
- Regarding the purpose of the piece, many have speculated that it was made for the marriage of Lorenzo di Pierfrancesco sometime in the month of May in 1482.
Hopefully you’ve learned a little bit more about this painting and enjoyed the easter eggs!