Sandro Botticelli's Drawings: Dante's Purgatorio with Federica Pellazza

Sandro Botticelli's Drawings: Dante's Purgatorio with Federica Pellazza


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In this conversation, we will study a curated selection of Sandro Botticelli’s drawings to illustrate Dante’s Purgatorio. We will explore an array of masterpieces from a corpus of 92 drawings commissioned by Lorenzo di Pierfrancesco de’ Medici and released between the mid-1480s to the mid-1490s.

We'll learn that the intended output was supposed to be an illustrated codex including all three parts of Dante’s Divine Comedy: Inferno, Purgatorio, and Paradiso. Unfortunately, Sandro Botticelli never managed to finish the whole project due to its overambitious goal: for this reason, most of the drawings are preliminary sketches.

In this seminar, we’ll focus exclusively on the drawings for the second part of the Divine Comedy, Purgatorio. After a brief description of the historical context, we’ll be climbing up the seven terraces of the Mount of Purgatory, listening to stories from the mouths of some famous penitents, and ending up with the most awaited moment: the celestial apparition of Beatrice. We'll discuss how the artist represented the atmospheric text as we analyze his sophisticated artistic technique. The relevance of this work is not only in the excellent rendering of Purgatorio’s events by one of the most celebrated geniuses of the Renaissance, but also in the artist’s ability to bring together poetry, drawings, and social criticism from a vivid human point of view.

Led by an expert on Florentine art history, Federica Pellazza, this interactive seminar will explore these extraordinary drawings through the lenses of art, society, and history. Designed to inform curiosity as well as future travels, participants will come away with an increased understanding of Dante, Botticelli, and their brilliant legacy, both in the Florence of their era and on a global stage today.

Federica Pellazza is an Italian architect/interior designer based in Amsterdam. After graduating in Architecture at the University of Florence, in 2012 she attended a Master Course in Interior Design at Scuola Politecnica del Design in Milan. She moved to Amsterdam in 2015 where she lives and works as a freelance designer, collaborating with multiple local firms & developing her independent design research. Her walks are marked by a 'contemporary renaissance' approach: she loves to transcend cultural boundaries between disciplines, sharing new perspectives between art, design & architecture.

This conversation is suitable for all ages.

90 minutes, including a 30 minute Q&A.

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