Painting by Sandro Botticelli - Interview with Jean Luc Angrand

Painting by Sandro Botticelli - Interview with Jean Luc Angrand

Cindy Dupuis (CD): Hello Jean Luc Angrand; can you reveal some hidden secrets in Sandro Botticelli's painting "Pallas and the Centaur"?

Jean Luc Angrand (JLA): Yes, but there are many, so I will discuss two of them. For the others, I refer you to my two books "The Hidden Code of Botticelli" and "Decoding Masterpieces".

Sandro Botticelli's painting titled "Pallas and the Centaur" is an allegory that speaks of the Holy Spirit, God's breath that moves through different stages of the biblical narrative. In "Pallas and the Centaur", everything begins with the original sin and concludes with the coronation of the Virgin; a biblical narrative concealed by an ancient mythological allegory.

CD: So, are you suggesting there's a dual interpretation of this painting – one visible to all and another decipherable only by the initiated?

JLA: Yes, of course. Like in many works of art from the Italian Renaissance, there's the conventional interpretation and the esoteric (hidden) one which has been forgotten.

This dual interpretation is the usual puzzle of these Renaissance artists who liked to conceal the secondary meaning of their works, reserved for the initiated.

Here, Botticelli, as usual, delights in hiding biblical references behind their mythological equivalents. He even includes astrology and the myth of Leda, using them as a grammar to convey his message to the initiated.

I've written an entire book dedicated to this painting titled "The Hidden Code of Botticelli". I will share excerpts from it. This book is part of a series of four concerning Botticelli's four mythologies. I've included several articles from this book in my latest book "Decoding Masterpieces"; the French title of this new book is "Decoding Continued" in two volumes.

CD: Okay, please tell us about the two secrets you're sharing with us.

JLA: In the painting "Pallas and the Centaur", we find the alchemical myth of Leda and the Swan.

The myth of Leda and the Swan is present in the painting "Pallas and the Centaur", as in the other works of this series called "The Four Mythologies of Botticelli". The other works are:

  • Pallas and the Centaur
  • The Spring
  • Mars and Venus
  • The Birth of Venus

Like in the other paintings, the Swan of Leda is hidden; I have revealed it using an overlay.

CD: What does this myth tell us?

JLA: It's the union of a virgin/nymph named Leda and the supreme god, Zeus. When the nymph didn't wish for a union with Zeus, she transformed into a Swan.

Despite this ruse, Zeus recognized her and transformed himself into a Swan, which allowed him to seduce her, and from their union, four children were born.

The presence of a hidden Swan in the green fabric of the female figure indicates a divine union between a virgin and a supreme god.

You'll see an overlay of the Swan in my book.

CD: And the second secret?

JLA: It's about a climbing plant that symbolizes Jesus.

In esoteric/hermetic language, the tree of life represents, according to the mages of this era, Christ as a new tree of absolute knowledge succeeding the tree from the lost Paradise. It is represented by a tree or a climbing plant.

Here, you can see that a climbing plant emerges from a crescent moon-shaped opening in the fabric of Pallas (Athena); this isn't coincidental.

The crescent moon is a symbol of maternity linked to the goddess Selene, the lunar goddess of motherhood.

In short, Botticelli indicates that there has been divine fertilization through the presence of the myth of Leda and the Swan, further reinforced by a nod to another myth, that of Selene.

To conclude, the climbing plant indicates that the child born from this union is divine; he is seen crowning his mother in the painting.

Obviously, it's about Christ crowning Mary in heaven.

Is that clear, Cindy ?

CD: Yes, very clear; thank you for sharing, Jean Luc Angrand.

JLA: It's me who thanks you, Cyndi.


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