Botticelli and the Search for the Divine:
Florentine Painting Between the Medici and the Bonfire of the Vanities
February 11 – April 5, 2017 at the Muscarelle Museum of Art, Williamsburg
April 18 – July 9, 2017 at the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston
Curated by Dr. John T. Spike
In a major international loan exhibition, Botticelli and the Search for the Divine: Florentine Painting Between the Medici and the Bonfires of the Vanities, one of only two of Botticelli’s paintings of an isolated Venus will be on view for the first time in the United States, together with other Botticelli mythologies and portraits. The exhibition will open at the Muscarelle Museum of Art at The College of William & Mary in Williamsburg, Virginia on February 11, 2017 and run through April 6 before opening to the public in Boston at the Museum of Fine Arts on April 18 through July 9, 2017.
The restless, prolific and original genius of Sandro Botticelli (1445-1510) will be explored in depth in this historic exhibition, which features sixteen of his paintings, most with life-size figures, from major museums and churches in six Italian cities, including Florence, Milan and Venice.
Botticelli was guided to success by the Medici dynasty, the patrons for sacred altarpieces and sensuous paintings of classical mythology, including several in this unprecedented exhibition. In this time, he also replicated the central figure of his iconic Birth of Venus in the Uffizi gallery in Florence in paintings with dark backgrounds stripped bare of place and time, just displaying the solitary beautiful nude. One of the only two such Venus paintings known today in the world, is on loan from the Galleria Sabauda collection in Turin. After the fall of the Medici, many of his paintings were lost in the bonfires of the vanities.
Every phase of the artist’s long, tumultuous career is represented in the selection, by far the largest and most important Botticelli exhibition ever staged in the U.S. Also featured are nine rare paintings, by Botticelli’s great master Filippo Lippi, the only pupil of Masaccio. The cultural milieu of Renaissance Florence will be represented by several paintings by Filippo’s son, Filippino Lippi, Botticelli’s most important student and a leading master in his own right; a painting and a bronze statuette of Hercules by Antonio Pollaiuolo; the death mask of Lorenzo the Magnificent; and a portrait of Savonarola by Fra Bartolomeo.
Muscarelle Museum of Art
The College of William & Mary
603 Jamestown Road
Admission is $15 during this exhibition. Admission is free to members, William & Mary students, faculty and staff, as well as children under the age of 12.