Venus is the goddess of love and her birth is due to the genitals of the god Uranus, cut off by his son Cronus and thrown into the sea. The moment presented by the artist is the arrival of the goddess, after her birth, on the island of Cythera, pushed by the wind as described by Homer, who served as a literary source for Botticelli's work.
Birth of Venus Commentary
The Birth of Venus is a unique mythological painting from the Renaissance in Florence, and the first non-religious nude since classical antiquity. The painting belongs to the group of mythological pictures painted by Sandro Botticelli in the 1480s upon his return from Rome after completing three frescoes in the Sistine Chapel for Pope Sixtus IV.
The other mythological works include Pallas and the Centaur (c.1482, Uffizi Gallery, Florence), Venus and Mars (1483, National Gallery, London), and La Primavera (1484-6, Uffizi). Like these works, The Birth of Venus remains one of the most profound treasures of the Florentine Renaissance. The work, painted in tempera on canvas, represents the nude female figure of the goddess Venus standing on dry land emerging from the sea.
The work was commissioned by Lorenzo the Magnificent (1449-92) of the Medici Family, whose quattrocento humanist circle was particularly interested in classical mythology, and marks the culmination of the revival of ancient myths, in the context of a humanist Renaissance art. . A perfect example of the kind of painting that the Dominican monk Savonarola was aiming for, in his virulent 4-year campaign against blasphemy and frivolity, the painting miraculously survived the monk's "bonfire of the vanities" in 1497. This, despite of its obviously pagan narrative and the fact that it contained one of the first full female nudes since the classical era.
This good fortune allows us to enjoy one of the best Renaissance paintings by one of the most elegant artists of the early Renaissance.
The Birth Of Venus is ranked no. 14 on the list of famous paintings
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