Alessandro Filipepi got his nickname Botticelli from the barrel-like physique of his younger brother although there is no way of knowing if the painter was similarly built. Botticelli learned his art with Filippo Lippi but was soon running one of the largest workshops in Florence where he trained Filippo’s orphaned son Filippino and for a while collaborated with him.
Most information about the life of Michael Marullo Tarcaniota comes from his own writings many of which are epigrams to people he knew. Marullo appears to have been born or conceived in Constantinople in the last days of its fall to the Ottoman Turks in 1453.
ALESSANDRO FILIPEPI DI
MARIANO DI VANNI,
called SANDRO BOTTICELLI
Florence 1444 – 1510
Portrait of Michael Marullus Tarchaniota c. 1458 – 1500, bust-length, in black, the sky beyondoil on panel, transferred onto canvas, 49 x 35 cm with an inscription in Cyrillic by Alexander Sidorov (1835-1906), chief restorer of the Imperial Hermitage, Saint Petersburg, circa 1900 (on the reverse of the lining canvas)