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Under the Guise of Spring
Under the Guise of Spring

Under the Guise of Spring

The Message Hidden in Botticelli's Primavera


224 Pages, 6.25 x 9.25

Formats: Cloth

Cloth, $29.95 (US $29.95) (CA $41.95)

Publication Date: April 2015

ISBN 9780856832963

Rights: US, CA, CAM & SAM

Shepheard-Walwyn Publishers (Apr 2015)

Price: $29.95


A chance discovery unlocked the secret of this famous masterpiece, representative of the Renaissance pagan revival and the violent but inspiring atmosphere which spawned it. The Primavera portrays a Christian-Pagan synthesis with Venus, the goddess of love, framed by the universal Christian circle. It was a reminder to a young Medici 'prince' of the Hermetic philosophy, said to be naturally and perennially present in our species. Disillusioned with a worldly and corrupted church, an elite group of Florentines searched Christianity's pagan background for the unadulterated Christian message. In 1460, the works of Hermes Trismegistus were re-discovered after a thousand years and brought to Cosimo de'Medici. They were interpreted as showing that the rival religions of Judaism, Christianity and Islam shared a common source of revelation and were in harmony with Platonism. Other classical manuscripts portrayed man as boundless and divine, in contrast to the medieval view of man's lowly and fallen status. This was the 're-birth', renaissance, of the classical , 'god-like' human being, unburdened by guilt. The painting's heretical message, the abiding passion of the Florentine intelligentsia at the time of La Primavera, has survived through five centuries. As Burckhardt said: 'It became the breath of life for all the most instructed minds of Europe'.


"This was a delightful book to read and review. It is beautifully produced, with a large number of excellent colour photographs, together with a separate colour print of La Primavera included for reference. Throughout the book are close-ups of the parts of the picture under discussion, as well as a number of other works of art which are of interest. Not being a lover of art of this period, I was at first a little dubious as to whether I would find anything in it to excite me. I need not have worried." ¬óRosemary Arthur, Faith and Freedom

Author Biography

Eugene Lane-Spollen, retired as SVP Coca-Cola (Far East Ltd), lives in Provence, and divides his time between France, Italy, the Far East, and his native Ireland.