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

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

San Marco Alterpiece (Coronation of the Virgin),
1488, Galleria degli Uffizi, Florence


This work was commissioned by the Goldsmiths' Guild for the chapel of their patron, St Eligio in San Marco. Since it was restored, this work has been considered a key piece in Botticelli's mature period. The composition is clearly divided into two sections, a new innovation at the time. In the upper section is the Virgin crowned by God the Father and surrounded by dancing angels. In the lower section are the saints John the Evangelist, Augustine and Jerome whose writings allude to the episode depicted above. On the extreme right is St Eligio. The predella which is divided by four painted wooden columns, shows the themes of the alterpiece, including the story of St Eligio who tricked a demon by shoeing the detached leg of a horse, hence he was also the patron saint of blacksmiths.