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The first painting on record as Botticelli's work is Fortitude, which represents one of the seven virtues.
Though for centuries after his death Sandro Botticelli's paintings were held in less than high regard, they are now considered important works of medieval Europe.
In more recent centuries he has been recognised as one of the most important and influential Renaissance painters and has earned his place in artistic Western canon. Sandro Botticelli is one of the best known painters of his time; he was born in Italy in 1445 and painted some of the best-recognised paintings of the era.
The woman sits in elaborate clothes with many fine details throughout the panel. Her expression is stoic and determined and the background of the panel is as complex and compelling as the subject herself.
At the time Botticelli was commissioned to paint all seven panels but could not keep up with the time commitments; instead he painted one, but he put a lot of effort into outdoing the painter of the other six panels. The intense attention to detail means the depth of the painting is remarkable, even more so than many of Botticelli's other paintings.
Fortitude as a concept is the virtue of justice and strength. The serious, determined expression on the woman's face represents this well, as it shows her inner strength that Botticelli intended to express as clearly as possible.
The fact that some of the woman's outfit is armoured gives it another level; this is a figure that is supposed to express courage as well as the physical strength behind the meaning.
As the painting was on display in a very public place during Botticelli's life, and despite the fact he only finished one panel rather than the full seven, the painting made him famous. Botticelli gained a reputation for his talent and attention to detail, making him one of the most popular artists of his time.
It is not difficult to see why. Botticelli, in attempting to outdo his contemporaries, managed to create a vivid and expressive painting that would stand out in any setting, let alone with its full height of sixty-six inches.