'Study of the Three Graces', detail from 'La Primavera' after BotticelliArtist:
, Italian, 1854 - 1931
, Italian, 1444 - 1510
Material and Medium: pencil with white highlights on paper
Dimensions: Support: 226 x 268mm
Overall: 337 x 424mm
Mount: 372 x 500mm
Accession Number: CGSG00195
This is a small detail from ‘La Primavera’ or ‘Spring’, a larger and colourful painting which Botticelli painted in about 1482 for Florence's powerful Medici family. The Medici publicly showed their scholarship though art filled with classical stories and figures like the Three Graces, who are generally are seen to represent love, beauty and chastity.
Ruskin commissioned this copy, asking Alessandri to 'draw the heads in Sandro's Spring as far as you can in grey or brown only.' Old guides to Alessandri's work also suggest that this was to be a 'careful pencil point drawing, as practiced by the best draughtsmen of the Tuscan [Florentine] school.'
Ruskin hugely admired Botticelli’s use of shape and line and displayed Alessandri’s 'lovely drawing' at an exhibition of the Fine Art Society in 1886 to illustrate this. He later had it engraved to illustrate a lecture on Botticelli called 'The Aesthetic and Mathematical Schools of Florence'.