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Sandro Botticelli was born in Florence. The most humanistic of the Renaissance painters, he was at first apprenticed to a goldsmith. He became, in 1465, a pupil of Fra Filippo Lippi's, and remained with him for about two years. It is believed that he later worked with Verroccio and with the Pollaiuolo brothers, from whom he learned precise drawing. Some time around 1474, Botticelli became the favored painter of the Medici and their intellectual circle. Like them, the artist subscribed to Neoplatonism: an esoteric philosophical and literary theory blending paganism into Christianity and professing a spiritual union with God. It was for the Medici that Botticelli painted fresco panels (now lost), many portraits, and his two most famous works, "Spring" and "The Birth of Venus". His paintings are sensitively beautiful in soft tender colors, graceful, harmonious, and glowing in line. They are expressive of an intellectual and moral questioning, a humanistic spirit and a melancholy personal poetry.
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