London | Botticelli Reimagined at the V&A Museum

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The exhibition Botticelli Reimagined opens today, March 5th 2016, at the Victoria & Albert Museum in London.

cover image: Yin Xin, Venus, after Botticelli, 2008, Private collection, courtesy Duhamel Fine Art, Paris.

Organized by the V&A Museum and the Gemäldegalerie – Staatliche Museen zu Berlin, the exhibition is aimed to investigate and to showcase how artists, designers, and fashion designers have reinterpreted – through a diverse array of works including paintings, drawings, photographs, films and fashion pieces – the work of one of the greatest masters of Italian Renaissance, who lived in Florence from 1445 to 1510.

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Installation view of Botticelli Reimagined, V&A, 5 March – 3 July 2016
© Victoria and Albert Museum, London.

The exhibition is divided into three main sections:

Global, Modern, Contemporary depicts how Botticelli’s painting has influenced artists, designers, film-makers, and couturiers of our time.
The reference painting of this section is The birth of Venus, now at the Uffizi Gallery, which has been an inspiration for artists – such Andy Warhol (Details of Renaissance Paintings, 1984), Yin Xin (Venus After Botticelli, 2008), and David LaChapelle (Rebirth of Venus, 2009) – for fashion designers, such as Elsa Schiapparelli in 1938 and Dolce e Gabbana in their Spring/Summer 1993 collection, or even film directors, such as in the famous scene of Ursula Andress emerging from the sea with a shell in her hand in Terence Young’s Dr. No (1962). Works on view in this section include pieces by Bill Viola, René Magritte, Maurice Denis, Antonio Donghi, and Robert Rauschenberg, just to name a few.

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left: Venus Dress: Look 15, Dolce & Gabbana S/S Fashion Show in Milan, Italy 1993.
Model – Karen Mulder.
right: Rebirth of Venus, 2009 by David LaChapelle. Creative Exchange Agency, New York, Steven Pranica / Studio LaChapelle .(c) David LaChapelle.

Rediscovery focuses on the influence Botticelli exerted on the members of the Pre-Raphaelite brotherhood in the 19th century. This section features works such as La Ghirlandata by Gabriel Rossetti (1873) and  The Mill: Girls Dancing to Music by a River (1870-82) by Edward Burne-Jones, among others. The reference work of this section is the Primavera which inspiration is visible, for example, in the Orchard tapestry by William Morris (1890) and in the only surviving film of Isadora Duncan dancing (early 20th century).

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La Ghirlandata, 1873 by Dante Gabriel Rossetti
© Guildhall Art Gallery 2015. Photo: Scala, Florence/Heritage Images

Botticelli in his Own Time
50 works by Botticelli are on view including La Natività mistica (The Mystic Nativity, 1500), the only painting which Botticelli signed and dated; three portraits of Simonetta Vespucci; Pallade e il Centauro (Pallas and the Centaur, 1482), exhibited in London for the first time; pieces depicting the Virgin and Child theme; and many drawings, including five inspired by the Divine Comedy. The exhibition ends with two monumental figures of Venus and the Portrait of a Lady known as Smeralda Bandinelli (c. 1470-5).

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left: Sandro Botticelli, Pallade e il Centauro (Pallas and the Centaur), c.1482,
© Galleria degli Uffizi, Florence, 2015.

Photo: Scala, Florence – courtesy of the Ministero dei Beni e delle Attività Culturali.
right: Sandro Botticelli, Venere (Venus), c.1490. Gemäldegalerie Staatliche Museen zu Berlin Preußischer Kulturbesitz. Photo: Volker-H. Schneider

Botticelli Reimagined
temporary exhibition
Victoria & Albert Museum London, 5 March / 3 July, 2016

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Installation views of Botticelli Reimagined, V&A, 5 March – 3 July 2016
© Victoria and Albert Museum, London.

all images courtesy of Victoria & Albert Museum


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