Botticelli: Life and Work

Ronald Lightbown, Author, R. W. Lightbown, Author Abbeville Press $95 (336p) ISBN 978-0-89659-931-4
``There is no more radiant picture in European art than this,'' writes Lightbown of Botticelli's Birth of Venus . That painting, as well as the Primavera and other Botticelli masterpieces, have been newly cleaned in the past decade, so the radiance of their reproductions dazzle in this expanded revision of Lightbown's 1978 monograph. An absorbing text, fresh photographs of every autograph work and marvelous enlarged details of the cleaned ones situate the Florentine innovator in the hothouse of 15th-century politics and Renaissance culture. How did Botticelli break away from the Gothic style of his mentors to achieve his powerful, plastic idiom? By painful trial and error, Lightbown demonstrates. This British expert on Renaissance painting discusses Botticelli's remarkable portraits (only eight or so survive), his religious visions and the agitated energy of his almost hallucinatory drawings for Dante's Divine Comedy. All students of Botticelli should own this resplendent volume. (Dec.)
Reviewed on: 10/01/1989
Release date: 10/01/1989
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