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Botticelli and Treasures from the Hamilton Collection

Botticelli and Treasures from the Hamilton Collection


Accompanying an exhibition that brings back to the UK some of the greatest of the 'Hamilton treasures' (now in the Berlin Kupferstichkabinett), this book includes no less than 30 of Botticelli’s exquisite ‘Dante drawings’. The series is of the highest order of importance and rarity, and this book will be an exceptional opportunity to explore the great Renaissance master’s interpretation of one of the canonical texts of world literature. Ten drawings will be included from each of the three ‘books’ or realms of the Divine Comedy: Inferno, Purgatorio, and Paradiso. The drawings will be accompanied by an extraordinary selection of illuminated manuscripts from the time of Botticelli, including the monumental ‘Hamilton Bible’. Acknowledged to be one of the most important illuminated manuscripts in the world, this splendid princely volume is depicted in Raphael’s portrait of Pope Leo X. It has not been lent anywhere for 17 years and has never returned to the UK since it left in 1882. The Dante series will be further enhanced by the Courtauld Gallery’s own collection, which includes the master’s large altarpiece of The Holy Trinity with Saints John and Mary Magdalene, dating to the same years as the Dante series.


Bibliophile treasures of the highest calibre, all the works in this dazzling group are created by the best artists of their day for illustrious patrons, members of the leading families of Italy – the Medici, the Sforza and the kings of Naples. The manuscripts’ splendid variety and luminous colours exemplify what Dante termed the “smiling pages” when describing, in his Commedia, the art of manuscript illumination which so captured the public imagination in 19th century. 

  • Edited by Dagmar Korbacher

    Paperback, 260 x 216 mm
    168 pages, 100 colour illus.
    ISBN: 9781907372926


    Essays by Stephanie Buck and Frauke Steenbock and additional contributions by Beatrice Alai and Georg Josef Dietz


  • Exhibition

    Berlin Kupferstichkabinett
    16 October 2015 – 24 January

    The Courtauld Gallery
    London, 18 February – 15 May
    Coinciding with the Botticelli ReImagined exhibition in Berlin and at the Victoria & Albert Museum

  • In the press

    ***** “a revelation” —The Telegraph


    ***** "Some of the most staggeringly detailed, spellbindingly beautiful images ever created." —Time Out London


    ***** "A breathtaking look at paradise and purgatory” —The Evening Standard


    "Botticelli's drawings for the Divine Comedy are among the most lively, tender, and psychologically searching works he ever created." —New York Review of Books


    "What stuns is not damnation itself (Botticelli is remarkably faithful to Dante’s seven-circle version) but precisely what underpins all of his art: that pure, hypertensile line. And you never see this more clearly than in these drawings…" —The Guardian 

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