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

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

Madonna of the Magnificat, 1481-5, Galleria degli Uffizi, Florence


The inspiration for this painting is the beginning of a prayer (the one the Christ Child points to): Magnificat anima mea are the first words of the canticle sung by Mary in praise of the Lord on her visit to Elizabeth, the wife of Zacchariah, who is expecting a child (St Luke's Gospel (I.46)) The Child is holding a pomegranate, the fruit of paradise.

The images appears to the viewer as if looked at through a convex mirror and typical of Botticelli is the flowing verdant landscape in the distance.

(Text adapted from Gloria Fossi, Uffizi Gallery: The Official Guide, all of the works, 1999)