Elisarion > Monte Verità > Harald Szeemann explains the The Clear World of the Blissful > Botticelli

Botticelli and Elisàr von Kupffer

Analogies between Botticelli and Elisàr von Kupffer (Elisarion)

A comparison of works by the two painters shows that there are many similarities, but also obvious differences. The arrangement of the figures in the foreground is almost identical, the lightness, respectively the hovering of the figures, the central perspective of the background, the border of the figures with a dark line as well as the representation of the vegetation. The compositional arrangements of the figures are also similar.

However, unlike Botticelli, Elisarion’s details are not elaborated. The faces are uniform and expressionless. In addition, the bodies of the youths reflect Elisarion’s own youth: a rather unathletic body with narrow shoulders and a broad, slightly chubby hip, which could also be called feminine or soft. One wonders: was this the artist’s conscious intention, or was his technique limited?

A comparison with other works by Elisàr von Kupffer shows that the reproduction of the facial expressions was not important to him. The portrayal of his own unathletic body can be recognized in most pictures – obviously a deliberate decision. In terms of painting, many of his works are attributable to post-impressionism and have a remarkable painters quality.

The representation of homoerotic experiences and imagination however, is the first known recurrence since the classical Greek period, and has nothing to do with the mythological and Christian allegories of Botticelli.