This is a part of the description about La Primavera from Mediateca di Palazzo Medici Riccardi.  Continued from the post yesterday. Original English text with Japanese translation.

Mediateca di Palazzo Medici Riccardiのウェブサイトに載っている「プリマヴェーラ」の解説の一部です。昨日の投稿のつづきです。英語の原文と試訳です。


Sandro Botticelli, the Primavera (1478-c.1485)


La Primavera

Historical information:

The Primavera is recorded for the first time in 1499 in the inventory of the articles contained in the houses belonging to the Medici of the branch of Pierfrancesco, situated in Via Larga just a few steps from the large palazzo commissioned by Cosimo il Vecchio. The list was drawn up after the death of Giovanni di Pierfrancesco (1498), Lorenzo’s brother known as minor. The painting is recorded inside the so-called “old house” of the family, in a ground-floor chamber alongside the chamber of Lorenzo di Pierfrancesco, together with Pallas and the Centaur also by Botticelli. It is described as follows: “a painting on wood positioned above the lettuccio, on which are painted nine figures of men and women” (Shearman 1975). The work was hence part of an elegant and important wooden decoration, for which it was probably specifically conceived: it was in fact hung fairly high up above a “lettuccio”, that is a sort of settle provided with a high back, seat, arms, footrest and, in this case also a “cappellinaio” or headboard.

「プリマヴェーラ」が最初に記録に登場するのは1499年で、メディチ家ピエロフランチェスコの邸宅で所蔵していた美術品の目録に掲載されている。その邸宅はラルガ通りにあり、コジモ・イル・ヴェッキオが建てた広い邸宅からほんの数歩の距離だった。この目録は、「小ロレンツォ」で知られるロレンツォの弟、ジョヴァンニ・ディ・ピエロフランチェスコの死後(1498年)に作成された。この絵画は、同じくボッティチェッリ作「パラスとケンタウルス」と共に、家族の「旧邸宅」と呼ばれていた屋敷で、一階にあったロレンツォ・ディ・ピエロフランチェスコの部屋の隣の部屋に飾られていたと記載されている。記載の内容は以下の通り:「板絵。lettuccioの上に飾られ、男女9人の人物像が描かれている。」(Shearman 1975年)。従って、この絵画は、優美で中心的な木製装飾の一部で、恐らくそのために特別に考案された。実際、「lettuccio」の上かなり高い位置にかかっていた。「lettuccio」とは、一種の長椅子で、背の高い背もたれ、座席、肘掛け、足置き、そしてこの場合は「cappellinaio」またはヘッドボードがついていた。

The Primavera is still cited in the “old house” in 1503 in the inventory of the assets drawn up on the death of Lorenzo di Pierfrancesco, and in 1516 on the occasion of the division of the property between the cousins Pierfrancesco di Lorenzo and Ludovico known as Giovanni, son of Giovanni (later known as Giovanni delle Bande Nere). Having come into the ownership of the latter, the Primavera together with Pallas and the Centaur and all Giovanni’s other possessions passed into the inheritance of his son Cosimo who, when he became Duke of Florence (1537), transferred them to the Villa di Castello. Here it was seen by the so-called Anonimo Gaddiano or Magliabechiano (1542-48) and Giorgio Vasari (1550 and 1568), who described the composition as follows: “Venus, who is bedecked with flowers by the Graces, denoting the Primavera”

Image: Wikipedia
Le Vite de’ più eccellenti pittori, scultori, e architettori

(Vasari 1568, ed. 1878-1885, III, p. 312). From this denomination derives the title that has always been attributed to the composition, even though in the Medici inventories other denominations are sometimes used, such as the “Garden of Atlas” and the “Garden of the Hesperides” (Lightbown 1978, II, p. 52).

「プリマヴェーラ」は、1503年、ロレンツォ・ディ・ピエロフランチェスコの死後作成された資産目録にも、また、1516年、従兄のピエロフランチェスコ・ディ・ロレンツォとジョヴァンニの息子でジョヴァンニと呼ばれたルドヴィコ(後のジョヴァンニ・デッレ・バンデ・ネーレ)との間で資産分割されるおりにも、「旧邸宅」がまだ言及されていた。ジョヴァンニの所有に移管され、「プリマヴェーラ」「パラスとケンタウロス」を始め、ジョヴァンニのすべての財産は、息子のコジモが相続し、フィレンツェ公爵になった時(1537年)、ヴィラ・ディ・カステッロに移された。このヴィラで、Anonimo Gaddiano または Magliabechiano (1542年-48年)やジョルジョ・ヴァザーリがこの絵画を見た。ヴァザーリはこの構図を以下のように記述している。「ヴィーナスは花で飾られ、隣に三美神が描かれ、プリマヴェーラ(春)を示している。」(ヴァザーリ1568年、1878年-1885年版、III、312ページ)。この時の名称が、その後常にこの絵画のタイトルとされてきた。ただし、メディチ家の目録では、「アトラスの園」や「ヘスペリデスの園」など、他の名称が使われている。

The painting remained in the Medici villa up to 1815, when it was transferred to the Uffizi to be displayed in the Vasarian Corridor, hence in a relatively marginal position. Having passed to the Accademia, the panel entered the Gallery in 1919, at a time when a critical revision and revaluation of Sandro Botticelli and his work had been launched, thanks in particular to English collectors and academics such as Sir Herbert Percy Horne (1908), author of the first important monograph on the artist based on a meticulous study of the archive documents and an attentive and objective identification of the works.

Image: Wikipedia
Villa medicea di Castello Lunette from Museo Firenze com’era, florence Category:Firenze


Technical details:

The investigations of the painting that accompanied the restoration of 1982 have made it possible to acquire important information of a technical nature too.
The support is made up of eight planks of poplar wood, each of a different width, but all 3 cm thick. The boards are held together by two crosspieces of spruce, fairly coarse, possibly inserted later. The preparation of the support followed the common practice for panel paintings of the period. The front surface of the joined boards was carefully planed, after which the joints and the larger knots were covered with linen fabric. It was then spread with two coats of a white preparation, the first of “coarse gesso” and the second of “fine gesso” with animal glue. The artist then transferred his design onto this smooth and compact white preparation, although certain details of the design were later slightly modified during the actual painting phase. This was followed by the “imprimitura”, that is a tempera base, which was applied dark (effect produced by the use of “coal black”) beneath the vegetation, and pale (using “lead white” veiled with ochres) beneath the figures. The wood of the background is based on malachite and transparent verdigris, with the details picked out in pale yellow. The sky is made of lead white with a touch of azurite. The flesh tones of the figures are painted in ultrafine layers with very delicate and gradual coloured glazes. The transparent draperies of the three Graces and of Chloris are created using white-based glazes. The gilding is made using “shell gold” (fine gold powder mixed with gum, traditionally contained in a shell); that on the cloak of Venus is applied by oil gilding.