Sandro Botticelli The Birth of Venus
Sandro Botticelli was born c 1445 and died May 17, 1510 . A famous painter of the Italian Renaissance era, the Birth of Venus painting is one of his most famous paintings. Today, the painting is housed in the Uffizzi Gallery in Florence, Italy. This painting's subject matter is unique for the era, as most oil paintings were either commissioned by the church or were based on biblical themes. In contrast, Sandro Botticelli Birth of Venus painting depicts a more pagan mythology, that of the goddess Venus.
In Sandro Botticelli Birth of Venus painting Venus is depicted as standing upright, fully grown in an oyster shell. While it is titled the Birth of Venus, the painting might be better titled, the Arrival of Venus, as she is already fully grown. On the right of Venus is Zephyrus, the god of winds. In his arms is the gentle breeze Aura, and together they are depicted blowing the goddess Venus ashore. Also in the painting is the Horae, known as the goddess of seasons. She is waiting for Venus to arrive and holds out a flowered robe to wrap her in.
There are several conflicting interpretations of the Sandro Botticelli Birth of Venus painting. The first, and most popular interpretation of the painting is that it is a Neoplatonic interpretation of the myth of Venus. Plato, and his followers interpretation of the myth suggest that Venus was a representation of divine love. Plato taught that through physical, sensual beauty one would arrive at the idea of divine beauty. Many scholars believe that the prominent Florentine school of thought was Neoplatonic in origin, which would support this theory.
Another contrasting theory about the meaning behind the painting, is that is its based on a Homeric hymn by Greek refugee Demetrios Chalkokondyles. The ancient poem, is actually about Aphrodite, the Greek goddess of love, however it depicts many of the same themes embodied in the painting. In the poem, both Zephyrus and the Horea are referenced. This interpretation is supported by the belief that it was a member of the Medici family that commissioned the painting.
The Sandro Botticelli Birth of Venus painting was based on two models. The first was an ancient Roman stature of Venus. Botticelli also used Simonetta Cattaneo de Vespucci. She was a great beauty and a favorite of the Medici court. The Italian noblewoman was also the wife of Marco Vespucci of Florence. It is believed that Sandro Botticelli, as well as Lorenzo de'Medici and his younger brother, Guilano, were all in love with her. Simonetta appeared many times as a model in Botticelli's paintings, including several portraits.
It is believed that a member of the wealthy Medici family of Florence commissioned this painting. As such it can be interpreted as a testament to Lorenzo Medici. The Medici family were rulers and statesmen of Florence. In particular, Lorenzo de'Medici, who is said to have commissioned the painting, is a known patron of the arts, as well as a diplomat and politician. As a testament to Lorenzo de'Medici, the Sandro Botticelli Birth of Venus painting, it celebrates his great nature as a head of state, and links him to the celebrated Alexander the Great, by way of a legend of a now lost masterpiece commissioned for Alexander the Great.
For further information, visit:
- Botticelli's Birth of Venus
- Uffizi Galelry The Birth of Venus
- 10 Most Famous Paintings in the World
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