The Birth of Venus (1485)


The painting above depicts Venus rising from the sea.Her birth according to mythology occurred in the sea and she emerged  fully grown.  The depiction of Venus Anadyomene (rising from the sea )   was  a common representation in art. The Birth of Venus was the work of artist Sandro Botticelli. He was a pioneer of early Italian Renaissance painting. Extremely skilled Botticelli’s depiction of clothing and its folds are impressively realistic. The sea water shows waves from the current creating the illusion of motion. On the right the hora of spring brings a cloak  to Venus. Horae were in Greek mythology goddesses of the seasons and time’s progression. Zephyrus was the god of the west wind. The woman that he holds in his arms may be Aura. This was the goddess of minor breeze. Another possibility is that it is Chloris a nymph associated with Zephyrus.  Looking closely it appears as if they are attempting to away Venus’ hair which is covering her. The Horae of spring appears to be stopping them. Venus is shown nude with a innocent facial expression. The painting has almost an erotic nature, which would have been controversial for the time period. The Birth of Venus could be a depiction between concepts of modesty and human sexuality. Venus being the goddess of love, would make such a metaphor possible. Art historians still debate its message either thinking it represents a tribute to Plato’s concept of divine love or application of  Christian iconography to ancient myths.  The Birth of Venus currently part of  the Uffizi Gallery located in Florence, Italy.

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