Sandro Botticelli, Man Confronts Liberal Arts

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Sandro Botticelli

Man Confronts Liberal Arts (1483-87)

Botticelli painted this piece for the Villa Lemmi just outside Florence, which was possibly owned by Giovanni Tournabuoni, uncle of Lorenzo de’ Medici. Venus guides a man to a circle of allegorical figures who represent the seven liberal arts: prudence, rhetoric, logic, arithmetic, geometry, astronomy, and music. 

In the past, scholars have indicated that this piece was commissioned for the marriage between Giovanni’s son Lorenzo Tournabuoni and Giovanna degli Albizzi. The companion scene for this piece depicts a young woman receiving gifts from Venus as well, but the woman cannot be firmly identified as Giovanna.


Jan van der Sman, Gert. “Sandro Botticelli at Villa Tornabuoni and a Nuptial Poem by Naldo Naldi.” Mitteilungen des Kunsthistorischen Institutes in Florenz 51 (2007): 159-186.

Legouix, Susan. Botticelli. London: Chaucer Press, 2004. pg. 78-79.