Botticelli — Fortitude


“What is chiefly notable in her is–that you would not, if you had to guess who she was, take her for Fortitude at all. Everybody else’s Fortitudes announce themselves clearly and proudly. They have tower-like shields and lion-like helmets, and stand firm astride on their legs, and are confidently ready for all comers. But Botticelli’s Fortitude is no match, it may be, for any that are coming. Worn, somewhat; and not a little weary, instead of standing ready for all comers, she is sitting, apparently in reverie, her fingers playing restlessly and idly–nay, I think, even nervously–about the hild of her sword. For her battle is not to begin to-day; nor did it begin yesterday. Many a morn and eve have passed since it began–and now–is this to be the ending day of it? And if this–by what manner of end? That is what Sandro’s Fortitude is thinking, and the playing fingers about the sword-hilt would fain let it fall, if it might be; and yet, how swiftly and gladly will they close on it, when the far-off trumpet blows, which she will hear thorugh all her reverie!” (J. Ruskin, “Mornings in Florence,” iii. 57.58. Quoted from “The Spirit of Discipline” by F. Paget, p. 50).

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