Botticelli’s Secret

Kathryn Hughes at The Guardian:

It is not unknown for tourists to faint in front of Botticelli’s 1486 masterpiece The Birth of Venus. Such swoons of delight have been labelled “Stendhal syndrome” after the French novelist, who first reported feeling overwhelmed by the art and monuments of Florence in 1817. Those who emerge today from the Uffizi Gallery needing a lie-down explain that it is because of the sheer beauty of Botticelli’s strawberry-blond goddess, arriving on land in her giant scallop shell. The image, at once fleshy and refined, luscious and bookish, is the perfect picture of an earthly paradise.

All of which makes it strange that, for centuries, Botticelli was a forgotten name. Or, if he was remembered at all, it was as a minor painter whose synthetic charm represented everything that was glib and superficial about Renaissance art.

more here.