Sandro Botticelli Biography

Early Life

Alessandro di Mariano di Vanni Filipepi, better known as Sandro Botticelli, was born in Florence, Italy around 1445. He was the youngest of four sons in his family. His father was a tanner and the family lived in Via Borgo Ognissanti in the district of Santa Maria Novella, a bustling centre for tanning and other crafts. He was initially trained as a goldsmith before he engaged full time in the arts. The nickname, “Botticelli”, which means “little barrel”, was adopted by his elder brother.


Around the age of fourteen, Botticelli started his apprenticeship with Fra Filippo Lippi, who was among the most respected painters of the time in Florence. Having trained under Lippi, he was heavily influenced by his master’s smooth, flowing lines and attention to detail. He also spent some time learning from the painter Andrea del Verrocchio. To continue his education, he also studied the frescoes of Masaccio in the Brancacci Chapel, thus broadening his understanding and usage of perspective and pictorial space.


As mentioned, Botticelli was initially influenced by his early master, Fra Filippo Lippi. Later, he was also influenced by the works of Antonio Pollaiuolo and Andrea del Castagno which exposed him to a more vibrant use of color and composition. Notably, the work of Antonio del Pollaiuolo, impressed on Botticelli the significance of depicting the human figures in movement. Additionally, Botticelli also existed during the Renaissance period, a time of great cultural change, which influenced his artwork significantly as he often painted religious and mythological themes present during this time.

Major Artwork

Botticelli is best known for his paintings “The Birth of Venus” and “Primavera”, both of which are now housed at the Uffizi Gallery in Florence. “The Birth of Venus” depicts the goddess Venus coming to shore after her birth, when she had emerged from the sea fully-grown. “Primavera” is well known for its vivid colors and attention to detail in all of the flora and fauna in the background of the painting.

He had the distinction of being commissioned by Pope Sixtus IV to paint frescoes in the Sistine Chapel in Vatican City. This was one of his most significant commissions, resulting in the famous Biblical scenes “The Trials of Moses” and “The Temptation of Christ”.

Art Movements

Botticelli was a key participant in the Italian Renaissance ‘golden age’ which was marked by significant advancements in sciences, arts, and literature. His art, especially in the latter part of his career, is associated with the Movement of the Florentine School which sought to enhance the formal, historical, and compositional elements of painting. Although his work was vastly overshadowed by High Renaissance artists in later centuries, his fervent use of color, composition, and thematic innovation have earned permanent recognition in the history of Western Art.


Sandro Botticelli died in May 1510. Despite having been one of the most esteemed painters of his time, by the time of his death, his style had become considered outdated, and his work fell into obscurity. It wasn’t until the late 19th century, during the Pre-Raphaelite movement, that Botticelli’s work was re-discovered and given the respect and recognition it deserved. Today, Botticelli is considered one of the greatest artists of all time, and his works, particularly “The Birth of Venus” and “Primavera”, are regarded as treasures of the Renaissance period.

All Sandro Botticelli Artwork on 30 Art

Artwork Name Year Medium
Saint Jean Baptiste 1485 – 1490 pen,paper
Salome with the Head of St John the Baptist c.1488 panel,tempera
The Three Graces from Primavera c.1485 – 1487; Florence, Italy tempera,panel
Adoration of the Child c.1476 – c.1478 fresco
Scene from the Life of Moses 1481 – 1482