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, a female figure who is identified as one of the Hours (who were also known as the Horae, or Seasons, in Greek mythology).
More information about the roles that Venus (Aphrodite), the Horae, and Zephyrus played in mythology can be found at Mythography.
History of Italian Renaissance Art
In this impressive book, Professor Frederick Hartt examines the architecture, sculpture, and painting of the Italian Renaissance. First, the roots of the Renaissance are explored, then the Quattrocento and Cinquecento are revealed in this masterful work. And the book features an insightful and informative discussion of painter Sandro Botticelli, including descriptions of many of the artist's most important works, including the Birth of Venus.
The Art Book
This book is sure to enhance any art lover's library. Color images grace the pages, and every picture is accompanied by a concise description of each featured work and artist.