Sandro Botticelli, Bardi Madonna

Table of Contents:

Sandro Botticelli

Bardi Madonna (1485-90)

Botticelli received this commission from Giovanno d’Agnolo de’ Bardi around 1485 for the Bardi Chapel in Santo Spirito. John the Baptist appears on the left of the Virgin and Child holding a cross, while John the Evangelist stands on the right holding his Gospel writings. These two saints refer to the donor Giovanni, the Italian word for “John.” 

Botticelli experimented with perspective by incorporating multiple eye levels in his scene. The Virgin and Child sit on a marble throne, located on an elevated ground line in comparison to the two saints. The viewer gazes up at the four lily vases that indicate Mary’s purity, but the ledge at the front of the throne can be viewed from above. Foliage lines the background and acts as a frame for each figure.


Legouix, Susan. Botticelli. London: Chaucer Press, 2004. pg. 38.

Lightbown, Ronald. Sandro Botticelli: Life and Work (vol. 1). Berkeley: University of California Press, 1978. Pg. 100.