sandro boticelli paintings
By 1470 Botticelli had his own workshop and became a member of the St Lukes Guild. His “Adoration of the Magi”, painted in 1475, includes several of the Medici family within the picture and emphasises the importance of the Medici as patrons of the arts in Renaissance Italy.
The merchant and explorer Amerigo Vespucci would eventually give his Christian name to the American continent. The well connected Vespucci family were among the artists most important patrons they also recommended Sandro to members of the powerful rulers of Florence, the Medici family.
Botticelli’s name is derived from that of his elder brother Giovanni, a pawnbroker who was called Botticello (“Little Barrel”). As is often the case with Renaissance artists, most of the modern information about Botticelli’s life and character derives from Giorgio Vasari’s Lives of the Most Eminent Painters, Sculptors, & Architects, as supplemented and corrected from documents. Botticelli’s father was a tanner who apprenticed Sandro to a goldsmith after his schooling was finished. But, since Sandro preferred painting, his father then placed him under Filippo Lippi, who was one of the most admired Florentine masters.
After Lippi left Florence for Spoleto, Botticelli worked to improve the comparatively soft, frail figural style he had learned from his teacher. To this end he studied the sculptural style of Antonio Pollaiuolo and Andrea del Verrocchio, the leading Florentine painters of the 1460s, and under their influence Botticelli produced figures of sculptural roundness and strength. He also replaced Lippi’s delicate approach with a robust and vigorous naturalism, shaped always by conceptions of ideal beauty. Already by 1470 Botticelli was established in Florence as an independent master with his own workshop. Absorbed in his art, he never married, and he lived with his family.
The painting, which was probably intended to be incorporated into a piece of bedroom furniture, is essentially a joke at the expense of men. Mars is undone by his sexual encounter, disarmed and vulnerable, while Venus looks calmly on, fully clothed and awake. Mars is wearing only a small swathe of fabric, leaving his almost-bare body on view to both his lover Venus and, implicitly, the viewer, becoming the object of desire in the painting.
Intriguingly, the painting also contains a self-portrait of Botticelli – the only one known to be in existence. The artist stands on the right edge of the painting and looks directly out at the viewer. Although he was probably only around 30 years old when this was painted, Botticelli depicts himself as confident and masterful, and his confidence is justified by the accomplished style of this work, which compares to some of his more mature masterpieces.
It is thought that Botticelli first trained with Maso Finiguerra, a goldsmith, before entering the studio of the artist Fra Filippo Lippi. He began his career painting frescoes for Florentine churches and cathedrals, and worked with the painter and engraver Antonio del Pollaiuolo. By 1470, he had his own workshop.
Vasari also suggests that, as his work fell out of favour, Botticelli became melancholic and depressed. He had never married, preferring the company of family and friends. Having always been known for his high spirits and quick wit, the image of Botticelli’s final years as a rapid decline into poverty, isolation and mental anguish is a poignant one.
In the past there was speculation that he had also had a period in a more progressive workshop, and both that of the Pollaiuolo brothers and Verrochio have been suggested, based on some undoubted influence these had on Botticelli’s style. Current thinking is that no actual period in a different workshop is needed to account for this. 
He has been described as “an outsider in the mainstream of Italian painting”, who had a limited interest in many of the developments most associated with Quattrocento painting, such as the realistic depiction of human anatomy, perspective, and landscape, and the use of direct borrowings from classical art. His training enabled him to represent all these aspects of painting, without adopting or contributing to their development.