During the Renaissance, Botticelli invented, dreamt up, a Madonna.
Botticelli's friend, Marsilio Ficino - a humanist, philosopher, and theorist - favored the Platonic method
of attaining supreme beauty. In his Madonna of the Magnificat, for example, Botticelli
had no need to reproduce a single face to depict his angels. In order to rival nature,
he used the faces of several children or adolescents to reconstruct a perhaps impersonal,
but nonetheless living, angel. An angel far more touching than the little rascals,
with their dirty hands and impulsive gestures, who served as models to the painter
and remained blissfully unaware of their own grace.
Botticelli's angels, built up out of memories and superposed layers of beauty, retain their whiteness, their meditative attitude, their silence: the five angels could be five dreams of the ideal adolescent.