This painting, La Primavera, meaning "The Spring", by Sandro Boticcelli immediately touched me from the moment I first saw it.
Sandro Boticcelli was an Italian Renaissance painter who lived and worked in Florence. Boticcelli's paintings are distinctive for their intense, yet delicate use of colour and poetic outlook. Boticcelli never tried to capture the human body according to the laws of anatomy, but rather used complex moral allegory, earthly grandeur and beautiful mythological pictures, to convey his attitude to life.
The painting is a beautiful allegory of spring set in a meadow of flowers and trees. The trees form part of a flowering orange grove - corresponding to the sacred garden of the Hesperides in Greek myth - and each small white blossom is tipped with gold. Gold is used throughout the painting, echoing the divine status of Venus, and accentuating the beauty of the spring. Each dark green leaf has a gold spine and outline, and the tree trunks are highlighted with short diagonal lines of gold.
From right to left the first figure is Zephyr, (his name is Greek for west-wind) bursting through the trees and chasing Chloris the nymph of nature and making her fertile. From their union Flora, the goddess of vegetation is born. She wears a garland of myrtle (the tree of Venus), and she scatters red and white roses from the lap of her lavishly decorated dress as she walks. The dress is embroidered with red and white daisies, and yellow primroses, spring flowers appropriate to the theme of spring.
In the center but seemingly further back stands Venus in a white dress, a gold pendant attached to it and a red robe hangs over her bent arm and with the other she drapes it across her lower body. She stands with her...