Primavera, 1482 by Sandro Botticelli

Primavera, the largest mythological painting of the Early Renaissance, is believed to have been commissioned by the Medici family and hung in the bedroom of a bride of one its members.

As indicated by the picture's title - itself known to have been in use by the 16th century - Primavera represents the arrival and celebration of Spring. Venus, Goddess of Love, appears in the middle of an orange grove, on a meadow adorned with flowers; overhead, her son, Amor, his eyes blindfolded, is shooting his arrows of love. Mistress of this grove, Venus has fallen back, as if wishing to give her retinue the opportunity to overtake her. The posture and movement of the pictorial figures are echoed by the trees - a harmonious unity of man and nature. The erect stature of the orange trees echoes the figures beneath them, while the bending laurel trees on the right imitate the posture of the fleeing nymph. The orange trees come together over Venus' head to form a semicircular arch; halo-like, it surrounds the Goddess as the primary figure in the picture.

Leaving out the many possible interpretations proposed by various experts, what is certain is the humanistic meaning of the work: Venus is the goodwill (the Humanitas), as she distinguishes the material (right) from the spiritual values (left). The Humanitas promotes the ideal of a positive man, confident in his abilities, and sensitive to the needs of others.