The Birth of Venus

size(cm): 40x65
Sale price£168 GBP


Before us is a beautiful female body stretched out on the waves of the sea. Here a voluptuous goddess can be seen emerging from the waves in a lascivious and inviting pose.

The Birth of Venus was one of the great successes of the 1863 Salon where it was purchased by Napoleon III for his private collection. Cabanel, a painter who received numerous awards throughout his career, at this time played an important role teaching at the Ecole des Beaux-Arts and directing the Salon. Typical of his virtuoso technique, this painting is a perfect example of the popular and official artistic taste of the time.

The first version of Cabanel's The Birth of Venus (Musée d'Orsay, Paris) caused a sensation. The Salon of 1863 was nicknamed the "Hall of the Venuses" due to the number of seductive nudes on display that year. Embodying the ideals of academic art, the careful modeling, silky brushwork, and mythological subject matter of Cabanel's canvas proved a winning combination.

The painting caused a great deal of controversy due to its overt and explicit depiction of female nudity. The work received criticism from some sectors of French society, who considered it offensive and pornographic.

However, the painting also received praise from other art critics, who considered it a masterpiece of the academic style and saw it as a tribute to the beauty and perfection of the human body.

Another interesting fact is that Cabanel was inspired by Botticelli's Venus, one of the masterpieces of the Italian Renaissance, to create his own Venus. However, instead of depicting Venus in a shell, as Botticelli does, Cabanel shows her emerging from the sea in a wave, surrounded by nymphs and putti.

Alexandre Cabanel's The Birth of Venus is a 19th-century masterpiece of academic art that caused controversy in its day due to its depiction of female nudity, but remains an iconic and highly admired work today.

The Birth of Venus by Alexander Cabanel is ranked no. 68 on the list of famous paintings

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