Botticelli's genius on show at Musée Jacquemart-André

Exhibitions
La grâce de Botticelli au Musée Jacquemart-André
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Botticelli's Birth of Venus and Spring immediately come to mind when thinking about the Italian Renaissance in Florence. The Musée Jacquemart-André managed to put on an exhibition in Botticelli's honour without his most famous works – which due to size can only be seen at the Uffizi Galleries in Florence.

La grâce de Botticelli au Musée Jacquemart-AndréNevertheless, the exhibition encompasses 40 of Sandro Botticelli paintings retracing the genius' life, career and workshop productions. It is believed Botticelli was trained by a goldsmith from a very young age, which explains the mastery and beauty of his hand. He went onto to apprentice for Fra Filippo Lippi and rapidly learnt how to depict the Madonna and child like his mentor, and this became the basis of his personal style which he developed in his own workshop in the mid-1460s.



La grâce de Botticelli au Musée Jacquemart-AndréThe Madonna of the Book on show next to a Madonna by Lippi reveals the new emphasis he put on the subject and which he developed on magnificent tondos (small round paintings) - The Madonna of the Magnificat is a superb example. The portrait section includes one of Julien de Medici, assassinated in 1478 during the Pazzi conspiracy (his brother Laurent survived with only a few minor injuries).


It hangs next to his Portrait of a Woman – said to be the beautiful Simonetta Vespucci – rumoured to have had an affair with Julien and whose family were neighbours to Botticelli's. Venus as the allegory of ideal beauty was another major theme backing the success he enjoyed under the Medici family's rule.



La grâce de Botticelli au Musée Jacquemart-AndréAlthough the Birth of Venus was not permitted to travel, Venus Pudica from Berlin is bound to delight. Which leads us to the main subject of the exhibition – workshop productions by the artist and his assistants. Botticelli designed compositions from which copies could be made using different colours and accessories.


The models could also be applied to various materials, such as tapistries or marquetry. This involved inventively reusing the same models in a way that made them appear new. Unfortuately for Botticelli, Savonarole's arrival as new ruler of Florence was fatal for his business which completely died out towards 1500. His genius only regained acknowledgement in the 19th century thanks to the English Pre-Raphaelite Brotherhood and has been famous ever since.



La grâce de Botticelli au Musée Jacquemart-AndréAt the end of your visit, why not stay on-site to enjoy delicious pastries at the Tea Room on the ground floor of the Jacquemart-André couples' residence, decorated with a superb Tiepolo ceiling fresco, or if it is getting a little late, we suggest the legendary Art-Déco brasserie Bœuf sur le Toit.

The restaurant was founded in 1922 and was a favourite haunt for Jean Cocteau and his artistic friends (Picasso, Picabia, Erik Satie, Coco Chanel and Christian Dior). In memory of the many improvised concerts held there back in the day, a music-hall programme including Jazz, singers, musicians and comics is on offer every evening after dinner. Another Parisian experience to add to your list!



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