Botticelli was from Florence and served his apprenticeship as a painter under Filippo Lippi and possibly Verrocchio. He had his own workshop by 1470 and undertook numerous commissions in Florence, especially for the powerful Medici family. For the Medici, Botticelli was notable for painting both religious works and also mythological works which were inspired by classical and humanist learning. In particular, according to the early art biographer Vasari, he wrote a commentary and illustrated scenes from the writing of the poet Dante, but also he was influenced by the religious visionary, Savonarola.
With his work achieving fame in Florence, Botticelli, along with several other Florentine artists were employed in 1481 by the Pope to assist with the fresco painting in the Sistine Chapel. Returning from Rome the following year, Botticelli remained in Florence and his workshop became popular for their paintings of the Madonna. His work declined in popularity towards the end of his life as the new styles of other artists working in Florence, particularly Raphael and Michelangelo took over.