Detail, The birth of Venus, c 1484, Tempera on wood.  Ufizzi Gallery Florence

Detail, Primavera, c 1482, Grease tempera on wood.  Ufizzi Gallery Florence

The Temptation of Christ, 1481-2, Cappella Sistina, Vatican

Scan courtesy of Carol Gerten Fine Art.

This is the final frescoe in the series of 3 Botticelli painted for Pope Sixtus IV for the Sistine Chapel.

Christ's temptation by the Devil from the gospel of Matthew is in the top background of the painting. In each scene the devil is disguised as a hermit, but Christ drives him away until he reveals his more familiar form in the top right.

The foreground of the painting shows a celebration of Jewish sacrifice, conducted daily before the Temple in accordance with ancient custom. The high priest is receiving the blood-filled sacrificial bowl, while several people are bringing animals and wood as offerings. The Jewish sacrifice is included as a reference to the crucifixion of Christ. In the top left of the background one can find three angles preparing the gift table for the Eucharist, another reconstruction of Christ's sacrifice.