Botticelli Reimagined

‘Paradiso II’; Dante and Beatrice in the sphere of the moon, with Beatrice explaining the nature of the heavens; illustration by Sandro Botticelli, circa 1490

Andrew Butterfield writes, “The exhibition at the Victoria and Albert includes Botticelli’s great drawing for Canto 28 of theParadiso. We see Dante and Beatrice aloft in the Primum Mobile—the sphere of the heavens closest to God—looking up, and surrounded by a chorus of seraphim and cherubim. One of these angels holds a tablet bearing Botticelli’s name. His only signature in all the drawings, it is an expression of his hope that, like Dante, his ‘desire to know shall gain its end in this rare temple of angels.’ Here, Beatrice tells Dante that all find ‘delight in the measure of the depth to which their sight can penetrate the truth…. From this it may be seen, beatitude itself is based on the act of seeing.’ One can imagine that Botticelli took these words as a guide for his life and art.”

For more information, visit vam.ac.uk.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *