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Pallas and the Centaur - Sandro Botticelli. 207 x 148 cm
This large canvas bears all the characteristic features of the ceremonial image. For it, a mythological motif and characters were used - the warrior goddess Athena, called Pallas in those cases when she was portrayed in military ammunition and with weapons. The second character of the picture is a centaur, a mythical creature also hailed from ancient Greek legends, a wild creature from the retinue of Dionysus, characterized by uncontrolled behavior and wild character. This is a half-man, half-horse, powerful and indomitable.
A very interesting plot was chosen for the picture - Pallas holds a dormant centaur by her curly curvy hair, and he humbly bows his head, obeying her unconditional power. Here you can see the triumph of reason and civilization over savagery and uncontrolledness, which fits well with the philosophical traditions of the Renaissance.
However, some researchers believe that the painting reflected the politics of the Medici clan who defeated the conspirators, who tried to overthrow them from the Florentine throne. You can also believe in this, because the canvas was ordered to the master just about an important political marriage.
The two main characters of the picture are depicted against the backdrop of a distant landscape, towering above a wide and deep sea bay. The mountainous gently sloping and steep banks, the quiet and even surface of the water, and even a tiny boat with lowered sails, anchored far from the shore, are clearly visible. The place where the heroes of the picture are located is fenced off with some kind of construction like a fence or a stockade of rarely located light logs.
The side part of the canvas is occupied by a strange design, which resembles either an old dilapidated building made of dark gray stone or a rough construction carved from a rock. He has not quite the correct forms and lines, but this is not a natural formation. Obviously, this is a hint of the primitive dwelling of a centaur - a creature far from high ancient Greek civilization.
Of interest is the surface under the feet of the characters, or rather, under the hooves of a centaur. This is a dense layer of short dark grass, which seems to have failed or sank under the massive body of a mythical creature. The edges of the earth are clearly visible against a background of saturated greenery.
The figures of Athena and the centaur occupy the entire area of the picture and are the center of attention of the audience. The pallas is depicted in a somewhat mannered and not quite natural pose with his head slightly tilted and tilted to one side. She holds a huge halberd, taller than her height, her head is decorated with a lush, airy wreath of greenery. Her outfit is as if woven from green twigs, has a rich floral finish, and on top is covered with large folds of a wide dark green cloak. On the legs of the goddess are the original high sandals of ocher-yellow color, with open fingers.
The "horse" part of the centaur is a powerful muscular animal of bay color, and the human half is a naked torso of a young bearded man. He is armed with a large bow, and behind his back a quiver full of arrows, but he obediently bows under the imperious hand of the goddess Pallas. Civilization triumphs over savagery.