It’s another fantastic exhibition showcasing copies of Botticelli’s work and art inspired by him – from the Andy Warhol version shown in the big poster at the entrance to the V&A shop to the Manga-like work by Tomoko Xiagao and the Dolce and Gabbana trouser suit and dress made of fabric printed with versions of Botticelli’s iconic Venus. Of courses there’s a Salvador Dali in which Venus has a fish’s head and a Rene Magritte is which the figure of Flora is superimposed on a painting of the back of a man wearing one of his famous bowler hats. I was surprised at how influenced the pre-Raphaelites and others were by his paintings, but until recently part of every art course consisted of copying the masters. A trip to any of the large art galleries will show that students on their folding stools are still following that tradition.
Interestingly, work by Botticelli (1445-1540) himself and from his workshop is kept until the final room of this vast exhibition. My favourite there was a painting I hadn’t known – Pallas and the Centaur.
His work was mainly ignored after his death until the Napoleonic wars of 1803-1815 when many renaissance works came on to the art market. Like many painters of his time, he had an industrial-type workshop and opinions on the attribution of works to Botticelli (Alessandro di Mariano di Vanni Filipepi) himself have varied over time.