The collections at Loggia explore select areas of study in art and art history, architecture and design, the decorative arts, industrial design, and classical studies such as Greek, Roman, and Celtic mythology.

Gardner's Art Through the Ages

This book is the classic reference for the study of art. It features a history of artists and their works, as well as lucid and engaging descriptions of the styles and periods of art history. Highly recommended for both students and scholars.








 

 








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Aphrodite in Art (Through the Ages)
Artists were inspired by the birth of Aphrodite for centuries. We have seen in the previous discussion that the painter Botticelli created his masterpiece, the Birth of Venus, during the Renaissance. However, Botticelli is but one in a long list of artists who were seduced by the myth of the goddess.

During the 18th century, the French painter Fran├žois Boucher also responded to the charms of Aphrodite, and depicted her in his work The Triumph of Venus. The style in which Boucher painted was dubbed Rococo. Rococo is light, playful, and a bit frivolous - a suitable style for depicting the goddess of Love and Beauty as she frolics with putti (those ubiquitous winged babies). This painting indeed conveys a mood of delight and joy - an appropriate homage to Aphrodite.

Another artist who paid tribute to the birth of Aphrodite was the French painter J. A. D. Ingres. He did so in a manner that was much more classical than Boucher's version. Indeed, Ingres was considered to be part of the artistic movement known as Neoclassicism, which was in part a sombre and austere reaction against the excesses of Rococo. One simply has to compare the serene, composed goddess of Ingres's painting Venus Anadyomene with the rosy-cheeked coquette of Boucher to see the differences between the two styles.

Additionally, Ingres was looking to the past when he painted his Aphrodite. Ingres depicts her as she emerges from the sea, flanked by a phalanx of admiring putti (one of whom holds up a mirror). She is here a lyrical representation of Anadyomene.

Representations of Aphrodite in various guises and poses became the rage especially during the 19th century, and artists were kept busy churning out a seemingly endless stream of images to satisfy voracious collectors. Not all of the paintings, however, attempted to communicate a serious, intellectual purpose.

One example of this trend involves the artist Adolphe Bouguereau. Bouguereau created absolutely stunning paintings, but no one is accusing him of being terribly original in his interpretation of the Birth of Venus (even the title of the painting sounds a bit familiar...). The work itself is more dynamic than the formal, classical-feeling Venus Anadyomene of Ingres, but the profusion of putti gets a little out of hand in this painting.