Sandro Botticelli was an Italian artist who achieved great success and notoriety in his native Florence during his own lifetime. His nickname came from the Italian for a small wine cask, namely a Botticello.

Early promise shown by Sandro was to land him an incredible opportunity, as a artist apprentice, which was a prized role for the son of a tanner. Clearly, his raw skills had been noticed, and from then on this artist was to take full advantage of the luck which had come his way.

Fra Filippo Lippi provided the level of tutorage needed to get the most out of this young painter, and Sandro was to later repay this faith by training his own son, Filippino.

His connection to the Lippis helped Botticelli to take over many of the new commissions for Florence's rich and famous, now that Lippi the Elder has passed away.

Wealth was everywhere to see in Italy during the Renaissance and Florence was at the forefront of this artistic extravagance, aimed at out doing the other Italian Papal States.

The Medici family are renowned in Italian history for their prominence in a variety of political and social circles, and they provided enough work for Botticelli to keep him busy all his life. They were also open to the idea of secular themes within the artist's work which brought about stunning paintings such as Primavera.

Italy was, and remains, a deeply religious country where wealth, power and the church were all deeply intertwined together. As such, artists looking to tackle other topics in their commissioned work would rarely receive backing.

The Medicis allowed Botticelli a little more artistic freedom and in return they were rewarded with some of the finest art of the Italian Renaissance.