Botticelli’s Primavera

For my DST, I was trying to decide between two ideas. One had stronger visual resources, while the other had a stronger narrative. I decided to go with the idea that had the stronger narrative and take on the challenge of finding creative ways to address the narrow scope of visual resources. Here is my final project concept:

Late in the fifteenth century, Italian Renaissance artist Sandro Botticelli painted a sizable work which depicted nine figures in a lush orchard. This scene would be the catalyst for a wide spectrum of conflicting interpretation throughout the painting’s history. My DST will present a historiography of the interpretations associated with Sandro Botticelli’s painting, the Primavera, addressing the more influential interpretations occurring from the late 19th century to modern day. This will include art historians such as Aby Warburg, E.H. Gombrich, Edgar Wind, and Charles Dempsey. The DST will analyze the changing interpretations of the painting, along with the literary sources that support each interpretation. The goal will be to present the information in a non-biased manner and let the viewers decide for themselves which interpretations seem most viable.

The biggest challenge faced with this concept is the lack of visual imagery to fill the time span of the DST since it focuses on one specific painting. Due to the date of the painting, there aren’t a lot of images of the artist, or the authors of the literary sources. Therefore, the DST would be primarily close ups and text. The concept of reenactments was suggested, but I’m not sure how this may work. Therefore, I think I may approach the DST as more of a mystery, and make it less academic and more educational in nature.

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2 Responses
  1. jhubai says:

    I see nothing wrong with taking a mystery angle. It can be interesting and educational. You can also use pictures or videos of the people’s interpretations you are discussing. You can also use symbolic images.

    If you go with the Delta story, why don’t you just tell a story about Jane Goodall and weave the Delta in? SHe is a pioneering woman and an interesting woman.

  2. rfachner says:

    This sounds really great, the Primavera is such a gorgeous painting. Its also a really recognizable one, and if i’m not mistaken has been really influential in many later works. In terms of images, it might help to find some other works that have borrowed or parodied Botticelli’s painting. Plus, the painting was completed and is currently housed in Florence, which has plenty of beautiful visuals if you can work them into the story. Just a thought.