Sandro Botticelli, Fortitude

Table of Contents:

Sandro Botticelli

Fortitude (1470-72)

Botticelli’s Fortitude represents one of the seven virtues commissioned by the Sei della Mercanzia, a board of judges that operated in the hall of the Palazzo della Mercanzia. The judges commissioned the seven virtues to complement the space in which they held their trials. Piero del Pollaiuolo completed the other six virtues: faith, hope, charity, justice, prudence, and temperance.

Botticelli’s virtue sits on a throne below a circular arch, posing in a way that reveals Fortitude’s quiet strength. Her head is downturned in contemplation, while her hands confidently grip the military mace. The light enters the scene from the right, highlighting the naturalism of her face, neck, and hands. Fortitude’s costume exudes both elegance and strength, including militaristic elements and rich fabrics.


Legouix, Susan. Botticelli. London: Chaucer Press, 2004. pg. 34.

Lightbown, Ronald. Sandro Botticelli: Life and Work (vol. 1). Berkeley: University of California Press, 1978. pg. 31-33.