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Sandro Botticelli, Abundance or Autumn, a drawing

After conservation


Height: 317.000 mm
Width: 252.000 mm

PD 1895-9-15-447

Prints and Drawings

    Sandro Botticelli, Abundance or Autumn, a drawing

    Florence, about AD 1475-82

    One of the finest drawings by Botticelli

    This is one of the most elaborate and beautiful drawings by the Florentine painter Boticelli. The female figure is believed to represent either Abundance or Autumn because of the cornucopia which she carries in her right hand, from which flowers and fruit are tumbling. She is dressed in late-fifteenth-century costume with buttoned sleeves and high waist. To the right three children carry more fruit. The vague forms of two more children, sketched lightly in black chalk, help her to support the horn.

    We do not know of a painting by Botticelli (about 1445-1510) himself of this subject, though there is one by an artist from his studio. This unfinished drawing probably dates from the late 1470s or early 1480s, the period when he painted the Primavera and the Birth of Venus (both Galleria degli Uffizi, Florence). It is densely worked with a warm background tone established by rubbing red chalk in the paper. The contours are drawn in black chalk and then pen and brown ink, while the forms are modelled by hatching and the sparing use of brown wash.

    A.E. Popham and P. Pouncey, Italian drawings in the Depa-5 (London, The British Museum Press, 1950)

    M. Royalton-Kisch, H. Chapman and S. Coppel, Old Master drawings from the M, exh. cat. (London, The British Museum Press, 1996)

    J. Rowlands, Master drawings and watercolou (London, The British Museum Press, 1984)