The Florentine painter Sandro Botticelli (1445-1510) is one of the greatest artists of the Renaissance. His works have been widely reproduced, with many of the reproductions distorting or »modernising« the originals. These »pictures« have now taken on careers of their own, often being so distanced from Botticelli's works that nowadays the painter's name is often used to denote fashion and lifestyle without any mention being made of his paintings.
There was nothing inevitable about Botticelli's rise to fame, however. On his death the artist faded from memory at first, not to be revived in the collective memory until the 19th century. Since then there have been many different interpretations of his work. It is not disputed, however, that Botticelli influenced the art of the Modernist period and the present day more than any other of the old masters.
The exhibition in the Gemäldegalerie (Old Master Paintings) explores the history of this fascinating renaissance which Botticelli experienced. How did the painter achieve his universal fame? What led to him becoming an icon of pop art? Why are his works considered timeless and »European« to an extent that they even appear on Euro currency coins?
Over 100 masterpieces of European art, on loan from the world's great collections, have been assembled to chart the process by which original Botticellis have been transformed into »pictures«. Botticelli's actual body of work is at risk of being sidelined by this welter of pictorialisation, which is why, as well as presenting Botticelli's influence on subsequent centuries, the show also sheds new light on the sources, on the master's own pieces, 20 of which are displayed for the first time. They are an open invitation to art lovers to reacquaint themselves with Botticelli.