Published: March 7, 2016
LONDON — Covering 500 years of art history and including over 50 great works by Sandro Botticelli (1445–1510), making it the largest exhibition of Botticelli paintings and drawings ever held in the United Kingdom, “Botticelli Reimagined” is on view at the Victoria & Albert Museum through July 3.
This major new exhibition explores, for the first time, the variety of ways artists and designers from the pre-Raphaelites to the present have responded to the artistic legacy of Botticelli. Including painting, fashion, film, drawing, photography, tapestry, sculpture and print, the exhibition also features works by artists as diverse as Dante Gabriel Rossetti, Edward Burne-Jones, William Morris, René Magritte, Elsa Schiaparelli, Andy Warhol and Cindy Sherman.
Botticelli’s images are firmly embedded in the public consciousness and his influence permeates art, design, fashion and film. Although lauded in his lifetime, Botticelli was largely forgotten for more than 300 years until his work was progressively rediscovered in the Nineteenth Century.
The exhibition is divided into three major sections:
Global, Modern, Contemporary shows how Botticelli’s imagery attained its present level of acclaim. This section is permeated by the influence of “The Birth of Venus,” which cannot leave the Uffizi Gallery, Florence. Andy Warhol’s “Details of Renaissance Paintings (Sandro Botticelli, Birth of Venus, 1482),” 1984, transforms the face and flowing hair of Botticelli’s icon in his signature bold palette while Yin Xin’s “Venus After Botticelli,” 2008, reinterprets Venus with Asian features.
Rediscovery traces the impact of Botticelli’s art on the pre-Raphaelite circle during the mid-Nineteenth Century. Dante Gabriel Rossetti, John Ruskin and Edward Burne-Jones all acquired works by Botticelli, and his aesthetic was reinterpreted in Rossetti’s “La Ghirlandata,” 1873, and Burne-Jones’ “The Mill: Girls Dancing to Music by a River,” 1870–82.
Botticelli in his Own Time shows that Botticelli was both a skilled artist and a designer who ran a highly successful workshop. Exhibits include his only signed and dated painting “The Mystic Nativity,” 1500, three portraits supposedly of the renowned beauty Simonetta Vespucci, and the detailed “Pallas and the Centaur,” 1482, travelling to London for the first time.
Martin Roth, Director of the V&A, said, “Sandro Botticelli is one of the greatest artists of the Renaissance and 500 years after his death his celebrated imagery has come full circle to represent a contemporary ideal of beauty. This ambitious exhibition considers his legacy and shows how and why it has suffused into our collective visual memory. The V&A’s renowned collections and expertise provide the broader context for understanding Botticelli as a design phenomenon and we are delighted to partner with Gemäldegalerie – Staatliche Museen zu Berlin on this exhibition, to trace the resurgence of his reputation.”
The museum is on Cromwell Road. For more information, +44 20 7942 2000 or www.vam.ac.uk.
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