X. Early Renaissance

XI-1 "April," with Venus and Mars

Francesco dell Cossa, late 15th century AD

One of three paintings in the Salon of the Months in the Schifanoia Palace in Ferrara, Italy. "April" includes a central group depicting the Triumph of Venus. Venus, seated on a floating barge pulled by swans, addresses Mars, who kneels in submission before her.

View of the Salon of the Months.

"April" along the east wall of the Salon of the Months.

Detail of "April," the Triumph of Venus.

X-2 Albrecht Dürer, Europa

Print, AD 1495

Detail of Europa and bull.

Europa riding the bull’s back.

Albrecht Dürer, engraving called “The Great Hercules” or “Hercules between Vice and Virtue,” ca. 1498-99.

Hercules raises his club to ward off the group in front of him, in which a clothed woman wields a stick against a seated couple: a nude woman and a satyr-pan. In the left background is a castle on a hill.

X-3 Albrecht Dürer, Great Hercules

Print, AD 1498

X-4 Sandro Botticelli, Primavera

Sandro Botticelli. "Primavera." Painted sometime around AD 1478 (likely between AD 1477-1482). Galleria degli Uffizi, Florence.

Approximately 2 by 3 meters or six feet eight inches by ten feet four inches.

Zephyr and Chloris, the figures at the extreme right of the picture. Flowers are coming out of Chloris’ mouth, signaling the fact that she will become Flora.

Detail of Cupid, flying over the head of Venus. he is blindfolded and is shooting an arrow.

Detail of the three graces entwined in a circle, dressed in transparent clothes.

Detail of the caduceus held in the hand of Mercury. The staff has little winged dragons on it. It pierces clouds that appear just at the edge of the picture, in front of the orange grove.

X-5 Sandro Botticelli, Birth of Venus, ca. AD 1490

ca. AD 1485-1486, Galleria degli Uffizi, Florence.

Left to right:

  • Flying wind;

  • Second flying figure;

  • Venus standing on a shell;

  • Nymph on coast with cloth (cloak?).

Detail of Venus

Compare with earlier examples, e.g., V-7

Persons and Events:

  • Europa

  • Rape

  • Hercules

  • Venus

  • Mars

  • Graces

  • Mercury

  • Zephyr

  • Chloris

  • Flora

  • Cupid

  • “Birth” (?) of Venus

  • Transformation

Objects and Places:

  • Objects for sale, no fixed place

  • Painting on house walls

  • Painting to hang in houses

  • Private space

Texts and Authors:

  • Ovid (Poliziano)

  • Seneca

  • Ficino’s letters