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Slander - Sandro Botticelli. Tempera on a tree, 62x91
On Botticelli's allegorical, but not ambiguous canvas, “Defamation”, written by him for a friend Antonio Segni, who is in the most humble state of Innocence, in the form of a youth without clothes, is located between two Courts - the unrighteous earth, in the form of King Midas, and the highest unemotional, in the image of the perfect, naked Truth.
The decision of the earthly court in the person of Midas is immediately influenced by six - Ignorance and Suspicion whisper their slander in the king’s long, donkey ears; Envy, pale and ugly, in black robber clothes extends a knife sharp as a knife directly to the face of the Ruler, who himself reaches with an uncertain hand to libel. And the Burning Slander itself, in the image of a girl with a sweet, immaculate face, with a symbolic torch, drawn by the hand of Envy, with the other hand drags the young man by the hair - Innocence. Eternal companions of Slander - Cunning and Deception, in every possible way decorate Slander with pearl ribbons and roses.
The innocent, hands clasped in prayer, turns to heaven for Justice, which, alas, is not in the picture. Symbolizing later Repentance, the old woman in torn robes with arms crossed in humility, squinting at the pointing to heaven, the exalted Truth.
The multi-figure composition of this work by Botticelli is impulsive and almost chaotic, with subordinate bright and dominant black spots, painted on the majestic and calm background of the royal hall, decorated with figures of Roman heroes and the Old Testament Righteous. The painting of the master symbolizes the clash of two worlds - pagan and Christian.