Although the worship of the gods and goddesses of Greece and Rome ended with the fall of the Empire, the significance of these deities continued to be felt long after these ancient civilizations faded into history. During the period referred to as the Renaissance, artists rediscovered the ancient gods, and filled their paintings and works of sculpture with majestic images of Apollo, Aphrodite, and Dionysos (or rather, Apollo, Venus, and Bacchus...Roman names were more fashionable than Greek versions).
This trend, which essentially started in the Renaissance, continued through the centuries. Many artists catered to educated patrons, who could appreciate the nuances of symbolism and meaning that were hidden behind depictions of glorious goddesses and virile gods. And while artistic styles came and went, representations of Greek and Roman gods and goddesses endured.
In this feature, therefore, we will explore how the Greek and Roman deities have cast their spell over artists and art connoisseurs alike through the ages. And it only seems natural to begin with that most influential goddess, Aphrodite...
Aphrodite (Venus) | the goddess of love and beauty has enchanted artists for centuries, and these artists have left us their legacy - from risque depictions in ancient art, to equally erotic images from later periods