On the fresco of Villa Marcelli “Lorenzo Tornabuoni and Free Arts” depicts a young man who appears before the personifications of the Free Arts, the main among them is Rhetoric, the rest are dialectics, arithmetic, grammar, geometry, astronomy and music. The scene is unfolded against the background of trees, now barely discernible.
The young man is accompanied by a young virgin, some signs, including the presence of Cupid on the other side of the imagined, suggests that this is Venus. She directs the young man with a graceful gesture, which became a sign of Botticelli’s art.
The commonwealth of beautiful women, with true dignity and affability meet the young man who entered their domain, is depicted by flowing lines that freely embrace the whole. The whole group is built with a naturalness, far from the Tencentist schematism of the allegory of the Free Arts: instead of an abstract idea, we have a living embodiment of the motive.
The meaning of the fresco is the introduction to “true knowledge”, as it was understood by the humanists of the Platonic Academy in Careggi under the influence of the teachings of Ficino: entry into a higher life takes place under the sign of Venus, but through knowledge