Born Alessandro di Mariano di Vanni Filipepi (c. 1445 –1510), his adopted last name is Italian plural for 'botticello' (little barrel), a nickname for his brother Giovanni, apparently rotund like a barrel.

Aside from a sojourn to Rome (early 1480s), where he executed three wall paintings in the Sistine Chapel - one is 'The Temptation of Christ' and the others two episodes from the story of Moses - Botticelli spent almost his entire life in his native Florence; it's only apt his dual masterpieces - 'Primavera' (Spring) and 'Birth of Venus' - are in one of the city's primary museums, the Uffizi (offices).

'Birth of Venus' may be his most popularly familiar work, perhaps the second known painting of a female nude other than Eve and blessed/damned souls in Last Judgement depictions; 'Bathsheba' by the older German-born Flemish Hans Memling (1430-94) was the first. Botticelli may be the first known painter to depict ancient Greco-Roman myths.

The Medici family was vital in Botticelli's career; there are his two known extant portraits of Giuliano de Medici. He did at least three versions of 'The Adoration of the Magi'; the one in the Uffizi (uploaded photo) depicts four Medici rulers. Cosimo I, the dynasty's already-dead elderly progenitor, is shown kneeling left of the Virgin Mary, plus Giuliano, low left corner; Piero the Gouty, in red robe near low right corner; and Lorenzo the Magnificent, right, in full profile in black cloak with red standing, lower body blocked.

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