Image of Gallery in South Kensington
On display at V&A South Kensington
Request to view at the Prints & Drawings Study Room, level F , Case DR, Shelf 40

Copy after La Primavera, Sandro Botticelli in the Uffizi (Florence)

Watercolour
1860s-1880s (made)
Artist/Maker
Place Of Origin

This watercolour is a copy made by Emilio Costantini (Florence 1842-1926), an art dealer and painter, after the Primavera (c. 1478) by Sandro Botticelli (1444/5-1510). It was realised for the Arundel Society, founded in 1848 with the intention of promoting the knowledge of art through the publication of reproductions of works of art. The Arundel Society popularised Renaissance art, especially Italian, echoing an increasing interest for ‘primitives’ in those years.

The painting is one of the most famous by Botticelli, along with the Birth of Venus, both at the Uffizi, Florence. The painting could be read as the representation of the contemporary colloquial poetry of love. On the other hand, the Primavera could symbolise the Neo – Platonic philosophy of love, pure and non-carnal. In spite of the popularity of Primitives such as Fra Angelico (1395/1400-1455) or Ghirlandaio (1448/9-1494), Botticelli did not become a well-known painter until the 1870s.



object details
Categories
Object Type
Materials and Techniques
Watercolour on paper
Brief Description
Watercolour, copy after La Primavera, Sandro Botticelli in the Uffizi (Florence), Emilio Costantini, Arundel Society watercolour, 19th century
Physical Description
Watercolour showing six female figures and two male, along with a putto above the figure in the middle. The males are at the edges of the composition. The one on the right, Zephyrus, chases the woman next to him, Flora. She turns into the woman handling flowers, the Spring. Venus, in the middle wears a white and red dress. On the left the Three Graces dance. The man on the left in red robe, Mercury, rases his hand. The scene is set in a garden with trees and flowers.
Dimensions
  • Width: 826mm
  • Height: 532mm
532 x 826 mm
Marks and Inscriptions
Inscribed in red ink Emilio Costantini
Object history
Acquired in 1995 from the National Gallery of London.

Watercolour copy made for the Arundel Society and published as chromolithographs (E.553-1888 and E.553A-1888) in 1888 by Wilhelm Greve.
Summary
This watercolour is a copy made by Emilio Costantini (Florence 1842-1926), an art dealer and painter, after the Primavera (c. 1478) by Sandro Botticelli (1444/5-1510). It was realised for the Arundel Society, founded in 1848 with the intention of promoting the knowledge of art through the publication of reproductions of works of art. The Arundel Society popularised Renaissance art, especially Italian, echoing an increasing interest for ‘primitives’ in those years.



The painting is one of the most famous by Botticelli, along with the Birth of Venus, both at the Uffizi, Florence. The painting could be read as the representation of the contemporary colloquial poetry of love. On the other hand, the Primavera could symbolise the Neo – Platonic philosophy of love, pure and non-carnal. In spite of the popularity of Primitives such as Fra Angelico (1395/1400-1455) or Ghirlandaio (1448/9-1494), Botticelli did not become a well-known painter until the 1870s.



Associated Objects
Bibliographic References
  • Tanya Ledger, A Study of the Arundel Society 1848-1897. Unpublished thesis submitted for degree of Doctor of Philosophy, University of Oxford, 1978, p. 267
  • Umberto Baldini, La Primavera del Botticelli: storia di un quadro e di un restauro, Milano: Mondadori, 1984
  • Charles Dempsey, The portrayal of love: Botticelli’s Primavera and humanist culture at the time of Lorenzo the Magnificent, Princetopn: Princeton University Press, 1992
  • Michael Levey, Botticelli and Nineteenth-Century England, in Journal of the Warburg and Courtauld Institutes, Vol. 23, No. 3/4 (Jul. - Dec., 1960), pp. 291-306
  • Joanne Snow-Smith, The ’Primavera’ of Sandro Botticelli: a neoplatonic interpretation, New York: Lang, 1993
  • Ross S. Kilpatrick, Horace, Ovid and 'La Primavera': axis and allegory in laurentian Florence, in Medicea, vol. 10, 2010, pp. 6-19
  • Lew Andrews, Botticelli’s Primavera, Angelo Poliziano and Ovid’s Fasti, in Artibus et historiae, Istituto Internationale per le Ricerche di Storia dell’Arte (IRSA), Cracow, No. 32.2011, pp. 63, 73-84
  • Aby Warburg, Botticellis ‘Geburt der Venus’ und ‘Frühling’: Eine Untersuchung über die Vorstellungen von der Antike in der italienischen Frührenaissance, Hamburg and Leipzig, 1893; It. trans. in La rinascita del paganesimo antico, Florence, 1966, pp. 1–58
Collection
Accession Number
E.34-1995

About this object record

Explore the Collections contains over a million catalogue records, and over half a million images. It is a working database that includes information compiled over the life of the museum. Some of our records may contain offensive and discriminatory language, or reflect outdated ideas, practice and analysis. We are committed to addressing these issues, and to review and update our records accordingly.

You can write to us to suggest improvements to the record.

Suggest Feedback

record createdMarch 24, 2009
Record URL