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    Birth of Venus Essay (2569 words)

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    Discuss progression of her life as parallel to change in Florentine Streets (pull in art and religion/rules of society in order to examine the similarities) (also note how in end when Savonarola reign ends, Florence is better and life is better) Marriage/love 0 art 0 religion Quotes: The City of Florence: During her youth: Page 52: Lorenz death put the city out of sorts in many ways. Page 85: And when soldiers are at war, they are not citizens, only mercenaries, and young virgins are most at risk. You will go to a convent… What if I were married?

    No longer a virgin, and with the protection of a husband? I would be safe then. Page 113 (Right before marriage): It felt as if my life were running out like the sands in an hourglass and there would soon be no time unaccounted for. Page 173: I had been so sheltered in my parent’s’ home I had never seen a public execution…. Anyway, despite the sweetness of my sex, I was indeed curious… Page 222: When I was a child it had all seeped so simple. There had been one God, who… Had enough love to keep me warm at night when I spoke to him directly….

    This God was so obsessed with the Devil that He seemed to have no time for beauty or wonder, and all of our knowledge and art as condemned as Just another place for evil to hide…. ‘ no longer knew which God was the true one… During her marriage/with her husband: (love) Page 30: (Mother) Your duty to the family. Your father is a rich man now, with a record of public service to the state. He has money for a dowry that will bring our name much honor and prestige. When he finds the right man, you will marry him. Is that clear?

    It is the greatest thing a woman can do, marry and have children. Page 101 : (Before Marriage) WSDL I too be saying things like this when I was married? I stared at my fleshy, happy sister in a kind of horror. She knew so much more than I did. How could I ever get around to asking her? Page 109: I thought the point of marriage was that it allowed us to prove our status to the rest of Florence. Page 1 18: Within days I would be locked in someone else’s life, in a house for which I had no internal map, and so my beloved nocturnal freedom would be over.

    Page 136: And in that way, though the state might crumble around us, we would keep something of the old Florence within ourselves, and so out of all of this horror would come something good. Page 160: (talking about husband’s sodomy’s) The truth was I had brought this upon myself, and while their punishment would be that there would be no salvation mine would be to have to live it… God and I were beyond words. Page 170: While there is no record of what the king of France though of it all, I know we Florentine were mightily proud and impressed.

    Yet when I look back on it now I find it hard to distinguish between my Joy at the spectacle and the quieter pleasure that came from my husband’s erudition and the way he taught me to look deeper into things I might otherwise have missed. (Like in church for example) Page 175: I had playacted the role of wife… Could almost hear them laughing Page 197: I cried myself to sleep with my loneliness for company Page 212: This might be my home now, but at this moment I was the interloper. It made me mad with pain.

    Page 213: But each time that I make you think or laugh with some piece of learning or an observation of art, rather than some simpering gesture or fluttering of eyelashes… Each time I see your eyes light up with the pleasure of our conversation, and your mind is distracted for a moment from his body… Then I think I have scored a small victory. If not for God, then at least for humanity. Page 223: So. If we could not have love, my husband and l, then at least I could have alchemy.

    Page 321 : The next thing I remember is the feel of him climbing onto the bed next to me, moving his body carefully nearer to mine until we lay side by side, like a stone couple in a chapel cough tin sculpted death. (continues) Page 260: (discussing relations with painter)… L thought however wrong it might be it was not evil, and that while man might not be able to forgive us, it was surely possible that God might. Page 278: (during pregnancy) I did not think of the painter… ‘ did not wonder about my husband or even resent my brother. And for the first time in my life I did not yearn for my freedom.

    The house was already too big a world for me. Page 349: Over the next few days I fell in love: deeply, profoundly, irrevocably. And if my husband has seen her too I have no doubt she would have won him also, under the miracle of her fingernails, the gravity of her unblinking gaze, and the glow from the palpable spark of divinity within her. As my world shrank into the pupils of her eyes, history was being made outside. Page 355: (letter from Crisscross) I want you to know that I felt as much for you as it was possible for me to do, and that I always will.

    Page 375: (after seeing painter again) The forcefulness in his voice touched a chord of memory. I felt something twist inside of me, but it was all so long ago I could no longer be sure what was pleasure and what was fear. Page 377: We had always been bound to each other through the power of longing, even we understood nothing of desire. Life During Renaissance Florence: Life in the Streets: Page 36: Sometime as I glide from room to room, I imagine I am out in the city itself, its alleyways and corridors unfolding like an elegant mathematical solution in my mind… ‘ have never walked the city alone…

    How its atmosphere might change when the torches went out I had no idea. Aerial was a slave, and yet she knew more of my city than I ever will. I had as much chance to travel the orient as I did street alone at night. But I could dream. Page 1 19: If I were to be married and burned alive, I would not die without seeing even a little bit of my Orient. I owed myself that much. And if the Devil was out there, surely he would have worse sinner to punish than a girl who disobeyed her parent’s to breathe in the night air for a memory of freedom…. The smell of freedom was mixed with the sour tang of urine and rotting food.

    Page 122: I had walked a dozen streets and come running home, scared off by the first signs of life. I had no courage, no spirit. I deserved to be locked up. Pages 166-168 = description of the French invasion; Page 169: At first the city put on her best face to impress her conquerors. Page 174: In the days after the French left, the square had been heaving with citizens eager to vote in the new government, with Savonarola its ruler in all but name… To have a lesson on the Devil’s punishment so close at hand… Page 181: By the time we reached home in the dark, the city was almost empty… T was he greatest irony that I had negotiated my freedom Just when there was no Florence left to explore it in. Page 192: Like everything else in our city, it was stained with the mess of living, but that also gave it its vibrancy and style. Page 224: Still, our first outing together shocked me. It was late spring now, yet the city was dreary with its own piety. (examples follow)…. Foreigners who came in and out o the city for trade and business were amazed by the changes, though they couldn’t decide if they were indeed witnessing God’s kingdom on earth or something more sinister.

    Page 287: The tall in the market were half empty, a testament to a failed harvest (further description)… The boils had left their mark. Page 314: The streets were different from the night we have driven the painter home. A slow drizzle was falling, and the cold made the dark seem more profound. But it wasn’t Just the season. The very atmosphere had shifted. In the last weeks since the excommunication an opposition was beginning to make itself felt. Page 333: The city, crazy after the anticlimax of the day, was alive with gangs of men in search of sport…. 34: The silence now was profound and the open darkness more scary than the streets. Page 365: There were, you see, so many of us: women who did not fit in. The women who loved life as much as they loved God yet found themselves removed from it, incarcerated within convent walls. The new prosperity of the cities had bred us, an the new freedom of learning had encouraged us. The Flourishing of Art: Page 1 : Anyone and everyone who had the money was eager to celebrate God and the Republic by creating opportunities for art.

    What I hear described even now as a golden age was then simply the fashion of the day…. Our Lord may have lived and died in Galilee, but his life was re-created in the city of Florence. Page 14: I really think until that moment I had believed that artists somehow came directly from God and therefore had more of the spirit and less of man about them. Page 45: You know in Florence we believe that great art is the study of God in nature. Page 71: I can still see it now: the glory of Florence conjured up in a hundred deft pen strokes… (description of city) Page 104: (Crisscross) The very same (adores art).

    That is why Savonarola words don’t freeze my soul… ‘ sin often. But I believe in the power of love and beauty as an alternative route to God and redemption. (Alexandra) You follow he ancients? Page 327: I tried to use paint to still my panic, but even the colors seemed thinner now and they did nothing to stop the thundering in my head. The Pull of Religion: Page 27: (Mother) It is not logic. What you do is more irreverent: questioning things so deep and coherent in God’s nature that human logic is imperfect to understand them anyway.

    Page 59: The holy friar, it seemed, was in direct contact with God, and when they looked down together on Florence they saw a city corrupted by privilege and intellectual vanity. After so many years spent daydreaming my way through sermons lull of scriptures but no fire, I found his lava flow of words spellbinding… He had a passion that felt like possession. Page 86: With Charles and his army on the Tuscan border and panic sniffing around the city gates, Florence took herself to Church. Page 88: (Description of Savonarola) He spoke to everyone; in his godliness, sin was the great leveler, undermining power & wealth.

    He knew how to mix his message with the yeast of politics, which is why the privileged feared him so much… At the time you just listened. Page 89: (Savonarola) Why does God march the French army towards us owe? It is to show us that our city has forgotten Chrism’s message. A city that has become dazzled by false gold, that has put learning above piety, the so-called wisdom of pagans over the word of God. (Alexandra) As the river of wrath poured over us again, from the body of the church there came a low moaning of voices, a kind of chorus of despair.

    Page 126: Everything that had once seemed safe and certain was unraveling before my eyes… The Republic was falling like a house of cards. Where had it gone? All that glory and wealth and learning? Could it be that Savonarola was right? All the art in the world could not keep out an invading army. Was it our sins and our pride that had brought us to this? Page 185: We were building a new Athens here. How can they bear to see it pulled down?… Len its place, this mad and clever monk will offer them a vision of something else… The building of the New Jerusalem.

    Page 189: (middle) Savonarola sermon about Florence and salvation * Page 190: Alexandra 0 1 felt a shudder go through me, and for that moment it made me want to tear up my drawings and ask for forgiveness and God’s light, though the yearning came more from fear than any Joy of salvation. Page 225: The glory of God was not Just in the number of souls saved but in the influence wielded, the power of the buildings, and the art… Page 238: With so much religion abroad, holy madness was on the increase: people who lived so much with God that they didn’t know any longer how to be with humans….

    When God was fermenting inside them they could be very frightening. Page 303: I must say the bonfire of the vanities was an inspired idea. And the way Savonarola told it from the pulpit was irresistible: If Florence was suffering, it was because God had chosen her above all there and her Journey had become a matter for His personal attention…. You couldn’t deny that the city felt alive again. (bottom) Adam and Eve: Page 45: There are two scenes from the Garden of Eden…. Adam and Eve are both crying… As they are banished. I have never seen such sorrow at the loss of God’s grace….

    The Joy is not as strong. It comes from a different painter’s hand. And the serpent hanging from the tree has a woman’s face on it. Page 194: Description of snake on wrestler’s chest: “It was a monstrous and magical sight. I was entranced. Page 217: The mountebanks leer was the Devil’s mouth; the serpent rose up from it, lull of color and hissing lascivious rage, crushing and cursing me until I woke screaming… Page 218: I saw again the serpent dancing its way across the mountebanks oiled arms, the sun playing off its coils…

    My husband and brother were even now entwined together, greedy with lust. I would never feel what they were feeling. My body would remain a foreign land to me, uncharted and untouched. No one to caress my skin or marvel at its beauty. Page 382:… The serpent Joined us in our bend on that last night… ‘ cannot wish it undone: the way its wild green and silver DOD grew under his brush, curling over my breasts, then plunging down deep across my stomach before disappearing into my hair, where Just as the thickest encased it, he placed the lightest outline of his face in the tangle.

    Page 383: Oh, but then the shades were amazing, raw, and new like the first brushstrokes of God in the Garden of Eden, and at the sight of them mingling with the sting of my blood something of the old flame flickered up in me… 384: there was a sweet catharsis to be had in the cruelty of the n toward my sex. El as I ad deed the dart of a serpent’s tongue sliding from his mouth

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