c1482 by Sandro Botticelli
Galleria degli Uffizi
Walking through the Uffizi one is waiting for La Primavera; it is possibly Botticelli’s most famous painting. Despite the great anticipation, the real thing does not disappoint; dominating its own wall La Primavera (Spring) absorbs those around it. Faced with so many figures one is compelled to stop and look at them all, especially when they possess the openness of Botticelli’s faces. Each one is quietly expressive; Venus’ in the centre is perhaps the least focused, as she is left in a dreamy glaze that embodies the enchanted atmosphere of the forest. It is a place where the three graces dance in delicately translucent dresses, Cupid flies overhead and a handsome Mercury reaches to touch the fruit of a tree that scarcely seems real. The forest and flowers are magical; painted darkly, they are intense – intriguing as they are alluring. For it is Spring, and it is perfectly articulated, through the scattered flowers and sheer delicacy of the blossoms and oranges that hang so beautifully.