From Florence, in the second half of the fifteenth century, men looked into a new dawn. When the Turk took Constantinople in 1443, the "glory that was Greece" was carried to her by fleeing scholars, and she became for one brilliant generation the home of that Platonic worship of beauty and philosophy which had been so long an exile from the hearts of men.
We say Platonic, because it was especially to Plato, the mystic, that she turned, possessed still by something of the mystical intensity of her own great poet, himself an exile. When, in 1444, Pope Eugenius left her to return to Rome, Florence was ready to welcome this new wanderer, the spirit of the ancient world. And the almost childish wonder with which she received that august guest is evident in all the marvellous work of the years that followed, in none more than in that of "Sandra Botticelli.
Botticelli's posthumous reputation suffered until the late 19th century. Among his best known works are The Birth of Venus and Primavera.