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Only one of Botticelli's paintings, the Mystic Nativity (London, National Gallery), is inscribed with a date (1501), but others can be dated with varying degrees of certainty on the basis of archival records, so the development of his style can be traced with some confidence. He was an independent master for all the 1470s, which saw his reputation soar. The 1480s were his most successful decade, the one in which his large mythological paintings were completed along with many of his most famous Madonnas. By the 1490s his style became more personal and to some extent mannered. His last works show him moving in a direction opposite to that of Leonardo da Vinci (seven years his junior) and the new generation of painters creating the High Renaissance style, and instead returning to a style that many have described as more Gothic or "archaic."

Sandro Botticelli (* 1 March 1445 in Florence; † 1510, buried 17 May 1510 Florence; also Alessandro di Mariano Filipepi or Sandro di Mariano di Vanni Filipepi, gen. Botticelli) was one of the most important Italian painters and draughtsmen of the early Renaissance. Botticelli's posthumous reputation suffered until the late 19th century, when he was rediscovered by the Pre-Raphaelites who stimulated a reappraisal of his work. Since then, his paintings have been seen to represent the linear grace of Early Renaissance painting. In addition to the mythological subjects for which he is best known today, Botticelli painted a wide range of religious subjects (including dozens of renditions of the Madonna and Child, many in the round tondo shape) and also some portraits. His best-known works are The Birth of Venus and Primavera, both in the Uffizi in Florence. Botticelli lived all his life in the same neighbourhood of Florence; his only significant times elsewhere were the months he spent painting in Pisa in 1474 and the Sistine Chapel in Rome in 1481- 82.

*1445-1510

Sandro Botticelli

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Tempera on panel, 203,0 x 314,0 cm
 Galleria degli Uffizi, Florence, Italy
 © Bridgeman Images

10 | La Primavera (Spring) Frühling, c. 1481

Tempera and oil on panel, 69,2 x 173,4 cm
 The National Gallery, London, UK
 © Bridgeman Images

11 | Venus and Mars, c. 1485

Tempera on canvas, 172,5 x 278,9 cm
 Galleria degli Uffizi, Florence, Italy
 © Bridgeman Images

12 | The Birth of Venus (Nascita di Venere) Die Geburt der Venus, c.1485-1486

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