Botticelli and the comic: a journey through time

Alessandro Botticelli was not only a beacon for the painters of the ‘500, but also a precursor of the ‘900 art.

It was in fact recently discovered an extraordinary work that sheds a whole new light on the creative genius of the pupil of Filippo Lippi.

A work impossible to classify as consisting of eight tables, a double quatriptych would say, oil on wood, that tells a story with a beginning and an end. The Old and The Siren The title, in plain sight on the first panel. The style reminds incredibly the comics structures, with illustrations that followed each other with a completely new structure, compared to the stories told in the Roman columns conclidi, or the continuities frescoes of Giotto.

We do not want to reveal the details of the story, to leave to the readers the pleasure of discovering it for yourself, then we will make only a few remarks on the style.

The protagonist is the blue of the sea, find also in The birth of Venus, but here is incredibly realistic, perhaps to the desire of the young Sandro to live the sea that he loved so much, and that he could not visit often because of his poor health. Never before this masterpiece, facial expressions were proposed in such realism. Sometimes deliberately exaggerated, “modeled” there would be natural to say, on some expressions of silent film. It would be natural to say, but we can’t, because this is a work created more than four hundred years before the birth of cinema. And those gestures so modern and so clear, that show all the denial of this siren to follow the old, to dive in freedom of the sea. Perhaps that is a need of Botticelli to refuse his poor health and thus exorcise the fear of old age? A mise en abyme, the youthfulness of the siren that gets rid of its subsequent mortality splashing the spectator, and leaving him alone with the old. Maybe they were really 9 tables, 3 triptychs? It would not be the first time in history that the number 9 makes its appearance. That the last table is a kind of epilogue depicting the old, as to leave the viewer with only his old age?

Fine detail, those lines kinetics in Table 6, which give movement to the arm of the siren, to mark the her refusal to be saved from the old. E ‘dated 1464, so at the beginning of his apprenticeship by Lippi. Nothing he did then is comparable in terms of innovation, in this work. Further proof that sometimes the experience decreases the creative drive. The boy wonder he met his true creative Primavera very first eponymous framework in which retracts the Venus, and even long before the Coronation of the Virgin that is part of its requirement of mysticism, that the advent of Savonarola in Florence increased many artists since the 90s of fourth century.

He, young sapling, still almost virgin painting but already raped by his own genius, gave life to this Old and the siren that we are fortunate to see today. For so long the work has patiently waited for the right time to come to light. Perhaps it is no coincidence that it is revealed only now, at a time when it can be appreciated in all its freshness and relevance.

 “Oh Sandruccio!” affectionately called from his teacher. Remember? And Sandruccio was traveling with the time machine until 1900, anticipating the ninth art of five centuries.

 Thanks Sandruccio.

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