Persistence - Sandro Botticelli. Tempera on the panel 167 x 87 cm
The painting “Persistence,” or as it is also called “Strength,” was completed by the outstanding Renaissance master Sandro Botticelli in 1470. It is assumed that the work was originally conceived as part of a cycle of seven panels that were supposed to represent human virtues. The panels were supposed to adorn the Tribunal of the Palazzo Vecchio.
The compositional construction of the picture sends the viewer to another painter of the Renaissance (quattrocento) - Antonio del Pollayolo. However, Botticelli was able to fill the rigid framework of the compositional scheme with completely new content. The work space is very narrow - elongated in shape, the composition at the top ends with an arc that sends a knowledgeable viewer to the dome of the Florence Cathedral. The young heroine, as if enclosed in a tight box, but it is her figure that the master seeks to give mobility, diversity, open psychology.
The heroine of Botticelli is fragile and graceful. This is the very embodiment of youth. A girl in an outfit resembling armor casually covered with a red mantle sat on a high throne. We, the audience, look at her from top to bottom, and therefore she looks even more magnificent, despite all our elegance.
The skill with which the artist depicted the fabric of the mantle cannot but delight. Here you can feel the influence of another outstanding master - Verrocchio. But the skill of depicting the armor entirely belongs to Botticelli. It is immediately clear that the artist has a "jewelry past", because the painter began his career as a master of gold.
One can immediately note the contrast - semi-childish, but the strong-willed face of the virgin and massive hands clutching an impressive sword. And also fettering clothes and a strict geometrically verified background. It is as if the heroine is fighting the power that has fallen on her and carries her with honor.
The will, the energy of the heroine is expressed in her pose, as well as in the expressive face - this is another merit of Sandro. We observe the recognizable handwriting of the master, proclaiming a lively plastic image of people. With this innovation, Botticelli enriched the artistic language of his contemporaries and gave a serious development vector for painters of subsequent generations. That is why his paintings are interesting to watch today for us, sophisticated connoisseurs - they are alive, not static, full of psychologism, which is manifested in posture, gestures, facial expressions. A striking step forward for the 15th century, in which Botticelli lived and worked.