Botticelli at Jacquemart André, a short visit of a true treasure

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Alessandro Filipepi dit Botticelli, Virgin with child and the young Saint John the Baptist, ca 1505, Florence, Galleria de Uffizi, Photo, Gabinetto Fotografico delle Gallerie degli Uffizi

Musée Jacquemart André has accustomed us to short exhibitions of very high quality and the pretty 1875 mansion on boulevard Haussmann inhabited by painter Nélie Jacquemart and her husband Edouard André is always a source of great joy. Forty works by Botticelli are accompanied by more by his contemporaries and the accent is made here on the design activities of his studio in Quattrocento Florence. Noticed by the powerful bankers the Medici, he painted Lorenzo the Magnificent and Giuliano after he was assassinated in 1478. There are two Venuses exhibited here as well as teh famous Simonetta painted after her death and many religious themes painted as tondos or altarpieces.

Alessandro Filipepi dit Botticelli, The Beautiful Simonetta, ca 1485, Städel Museum, Frankfurt am Main

Sandro Botttielli (1445-1510) is considered as the greatest painter of the Italian Renaissance, particularly creative and audacious and able to adapt to his famous clients’ requirements. He first trained at a goldsmith’s shop and subsequently entered the studio of Filippo Lippi. There he learned easel painting and fresco technics. There is a Madonna and child by Lippi in the show with a copy by his pupil next to it to show the differences in style. His madonnas are so human and sensual that they are stunning. He will take Filippo Lippi’s son, as his assistant when his father dies. He is called Filippino.

Portrait of Giuliano de Medici, ca 1478–1480, Bergamo, Accademia Carrara © Fondazione Accademia Carrara, Bergamo

His unsurpassed skill attracted the Medici and he painted the patron the arts, Giuliano, after he was assassinated in 1478 and there is also a portrait of Lorenzo in the show. The power of the character is particularly well rendered by the sober style. He also worked on Dante’s “Divine Comedy” and collaborated to the painting of the first illustrated edition with thirty nine drawings.

In 1470 he started the Birth of Venus cycle and they were immediately popular in palaces of Florence. There are two versions here. The exhibition also shows decorative panels and on wood and tapestries. There are eight rooms whose intimacy give special pleasure to the visit.

With Filippino Lippi The return of Judith in Béthulie, 1469-1470, Cincinnati, Cincinnati Art Museum, Fund John J. Emery

Botticelli is at Musée Jacquemart André until Janauray 24 and booking is mandatory. The whole house is interesting to visit as well as Abbaye de Chaalis near Senlis which Nélie Jacquemart decorated after her husband’s death.

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