This detail of Botticelli's Primavera represents Venus, the goddess of love and beauty. In the painting, she stands in the center, flanked by two groups of mythological characters. On her left is Flora, and on her right are the Graces. And above Venus hovers the god of love, Cupid (who is here portrayed as a pudgy putto).
Some scholars have observed that this depiction of Venus bears a strong resemblance to many of Botticelli's images of the Madonna. Indeed, in this version Venus is demure, clad in garments that conceal rather than reveal - compare her to the Venus who stars in one of Botticelli's other great masterpieces, the Birth of Venus.
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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. In addition, there is an excellent description of Botticelli's Primavera, complete with interpretations of the painting and a discussion of possible symbolic meanings.