Sandro Botticelli, born Alessandro di Mariano Filipepi, is one of the leading painters of the Florentine Renaissance. Taught by his father, Mariano Filipepi, he was quick to learn but restless and wayward. 'Botticello' (little barrel) became his nickname.
Apprenticed to a goldsmith and later to a painter, he had his own workshop by 1470. For most of his life he worked for the great families of Florence, especially the Medici family. He became extremely successful but later his style became unfashionable and he died in obscurity.
Botticelli's two most famous paintings are the Primavera (c1478) and the Birth of Venus (c1483), both in the Uffizi in Florence. The beauty of these paintings is overwhelming. The figures seem to float in space, pictured against a decorative landscape. In 1481 Botticelli was one of several artists chosen to decorate the walls of the Sistine Chapel in the Vatican. There he painted The Youth of Moses, the Punishment of the Sons of Corah, and the Temptation of Christ.