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Botticelli Drawings

A New York Times "Best Art Books of 2023" selection!

"His strawberry-blond Venus on a wind-propelled scallop shell still pulls Florence’s tourists from the gelateria to the Uffizi — but a rarer Botticelli feast is currently on offer in San Francisco, where the Legion of Honor is presenting the first exhibition ever of this Renaissance master’s fragile drawings (through Feb. 11). In this authoritative catalog, Rinaldi makes several new attributions, including two exquisite head studies of a man gazing upward and a woman with modestly lowered eyes. For a Florentine in the later 15th century, the core of painting was disegno (“design,” but also “drawing”), and Botticelli put drawing first. Delicate highlights of white and yellow show the light on tensed muscles or bowed heads. Effortless squiggles cohere into Simonetta Vespucci’s curled hair or John the Baptist’s camel cloak. His line feels spring-loaded; his saints and angels seem ready for the dance floor; his paintings’ grace and vigor started with a pen." - Jason Farago, critic at large for The New York Times
Botticelli Drawings is the first book to examine all of Sandro Botticelli’s known drawings—an area of his body of work that has not been deeply explored due, in part, to the artist’s few surviving works in this medium. Along with gathering these objects together in one substantial volume, the publication also showcases new findings by the project’s curator, Furio Rinaldi, including the discovery of three previously unrecognized works by Botticelli. Scholarly essays examine the essential role that drawings played in the artist’s process, the greater Florentine artistic culture in which he worked, views into his elusive biography through excavation of his artworks, and new technical analyses of his underdrawings. Printed on a matte-like paper, with details of Botticelli’s drawings on the case and front and back of the jacket, this book is intended to offer readers an experience akin to paging through a selection of the artist’s sketches. Hardcover, 320 pages.

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