24th September 2015 – 24th January 2016 | Gemäldegalerie - Staatliche Museen zu Berlin
5th March 2016 – 3 d July 2016 | Victoria and Albert Museum, London
The Florentine painter Sandro Botticelli (1445-1510 ) is considered one of the most important artists of the Renaissance. Countless reproductions have been made of his works, with some creators add ing a slant or “modern touch”, resulting in a work that has acquired a momentum and trajectory in its own right. Many of these re-workings are so removed from the originals that Botticelli has become a household name and can be used as a touchstone for fashion and lifestyle with out any mention being made of his paintings. Products are named after him, popular-culture personalities allude to his motifs in fashioning their own image, and some of the characters portrayed in his works – particularly his “Venus” – are now firmly embedded in collective awareness.
Yet our apparent familiarity with his opus was not inevitable. Sandro Botticelli was largely forgotten after his death, only to be rediscovered around 1800. From the mid-19th century onwards the Pre-Raphaelite movement in England and the associated admiration of Botticelli were instrumental in the artist’s resurgence, which caught the imagination of increasing numbers of artists and a steadily growing public.
Since then, Botticelli’s work has been subject to wildly different interpretations and poses numerous questions. How did the artist come to be so famous? How did he get to be a pop icon? Why are his paintings considered timeless and “European”, to the extent that they even feature on Euro coins? One thing is certain: few old masters can equal Botticelli as a source of inspiration for modern art and present-day artists.
The exhibition, which includes more than forty original works, explores a touching story of appropriation and appreciation th at began in the early 19th century and continues to this day. For the first time ever, Sandro Botticelli’s works are presented in the context of subsequent interpretations and paraphrases. The 130 works on show will include many masterpieces of European art and important wor ks on loan from the great collections of the world. Among them represented are Dante Gabriele Rossetti, Edward Burne-Jones, René Magritte, Elsa Schiaparelli, Andy Warhol and Bill Viola.
The exhibition also features drawings, photographs, videos, fashion and design objects. The visual aspect of the exhibition is largely a reflection of the partnership between the Gemäldegalerie and the Victoria and Alb ert Museum. Since the beginning of Botticelli’s comeback in the early years of the 19 th century Berlin has possessed a significant number of the master’s works. The largest collection of Botticellis outside of the painter’s own city of Florence has always been housed in the Gemäldegalerie of the Staatliche – formerly Königliche – Museen zu Berlin, founded in 1830.