Art - Birth of Venus by Botticelli

by Erin on December 8, 2011

Birth of Venus by Sandro Botticelli, detail

Birth of Venus by Sandro Botticelli, detail

Artist Sandro Botticelli’s lyrical painting that depicts the Birth of Venus is one of the most recognizable images in the history of art. The work demonstrates Botticelli’s mastery of sinuous line and supple form. And it is evident that the painter has used all of his considerable artistic skill to create a timeless masterpiece - in this image, Venus, the Classical goddess of love and beauty, is brought vividly to life.

As the title suggests, the Birth of Venus represents the moment when the goddess was born. According to Classical mythology, Venus emerged, fully grown, from the sea. And while Botticelli took his inspiration from this part of the myth, the artist also added his own embellishments.

Venus appears on an enormous shell that serves as a platform. She stands demurely in the center of the painting, modestly covering her nude body with elegant hands and masses of golden hair. A gentle breeze, which is personified as a wind god, lifts the hair of Venus. The wind also causes draperies to flutter attractively, and a myriad of pink rose blossoms also float on the soft current of air. This wind-blown effect simultaneously activates the painting and captures the moment of birth beautifully.

Venus is flanked by two groups of figures - on the left, the aforementioned wind god Zephyrus and his female companion, and on the right, another female figure who is identified as one of the Hours (who were also known as the Horae, or Seasons, in Greek mythology).

Birth of Venus is in the collection of the Galleria degli Uffizi, in Florence, Italy.

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