The author explores the themes associated with the paintings that were included in the composition along with the Primavera. Zirpolo states that the decorative program of the room where the Primavera was displayed was focused “on chastity, submission, and procreation” (24). These themes were recurrent in artworks of the 14th century among Italian artists who regularly took commissions from noblemen of that time (Zirpolo 25). By examining the way these ideas are articulated in the Primavera, the author aims to reveal the purpose and the function of the Renaissance artworks. This essay focuses on the link between Zirpolo’s analysis of the Primavera and the standards of women’s behavior in the Renaissance era.
In order to provide evidence of her view on the painting’s theme, Zirpolo reviews each part of its design. Zirpolo states that the representation of the value of innocence and its inevitable loss in this painting was placed in the composition to coerce the bride of the commissioner of this painting to accept her fate (25). Moreover, the author argues that Zephyrus’ intentions to rape Chloris were being normalized due to the similarity of this scene with Ovid’s Fasti, in which the same incident led to Chloris’ ascension to Flora (Zirpolo 26).
The prime position of pregnant Venus as the centerpiece is intended to create an association between the other topics of this painting and the creation of life (Zirpolo 27). The context of the artwork provides a significant insight into its potential meanings. According to the studies included in Zirpolo’s analysis, the painting was located in the commissioner’s bride bedchamber (Zirpolo 24). Together, the intention of Botticelli can be viewed as the affirmative action and normalization of the women’s position in the society of the 14th century.
To support her point, Zirpolo reveals similarities in themes of several other compositions of that era. The author highlights the fact that the lower position of women in the society of that time was reiterated in the artworks in subtle and hardly discernible yet influential connotations (Zirpolo 27). Such works of art as Pallas and the Centaur by Botticelli and Madonna and Child were a part of the room’s decor where the Primavera was displayed (Zirpolo 24). They doubled on the ideas of obedience, purity, and the primary role of the women as mothers.
While the author focuses on a single interpretation of the artwork, it is crucial not to exclude any pieces of composition out of consideration. Zirpolo argues that the message behind the complexity of Botticelli’s Primavera delivers the lessons in morality for Lorenzo di Pierfrancesco’s bride (24). However, the accompanying topics play a crucial role in the understanding of the artwork as a whole, making the Primavera challenging to define as a subtle moral guide for women.
In conclusion, the indirect messages encrypted in Botticelli’s Primavera can be linked with the ideals of submissive, humble, and moderate behavior of women that were held in high regard during the Renaissance era. Each piece of the composition reveals a particular pattern of demeanor expected from an ideal bride. However, the structure of the artwork involves many levels of complexity, many of which are open to interpretation.
This notion led to the diametrically opposite views on the Primavera by the scholars. Zirpolo’s analysis reveals one of the many layers of this astounding work of art, which, despite its controversial nature, does not constitute the full meaning of the painting.
Zirpolo, L. “Botticelli’s “Primavera”: A Lesson for the Bride.” Woman’s Art Journal, vol. 12, no. 2, 1991, p. 24. Web.