Title: The Birth of Venus
He was an Italian painting during Early Renaissance. The birth of Venus was Botticelli’s most famous work of art. He was influenced by other painters such as Filippo Lippi
The birth of Venus supposedly took two years to paint from 1484-1486 AD. The painting is currently being displayed at the Uffizi Gallery in Florence, Italy.
Tempera on a canvas
Another thing that is striking about this painting that it is 6 feet by 9 feet, and has even been called the “first large-scale canvas created in Renaissance Florence.”
In The Birth of Venus there are four people painted
Venus- Roman goddess of love and beauty
Zephyrus- Represents the “west wind”, this wind is the nicest and the most calm
Nymph Chloris- associated with spring and new growth
Pomona- Roman goddess of spring and fruitful abundance (Pomona is covering Venus with a cloth.)
While researching this painting many different art researchers had contradicting theories about what the painting is about. The theory that is most widely accepted is that the painting is based off neoplatonic ideas.
Neo-platonic ideas are the ideas of the neoplatonists. This term is hard to define because neoplatonists had many varying views. Neoplatonism is the ideas of many different ancient philosophers. It started with Plotinus and many philosophers followed him by adding and questioning his original ideas.
The main neoplatonic idea that was represented in this painting is the idea of divine love. Plato, who was one of the main influencers of neoplatonism, thought that physical attraction can further people’s understanding about spiritual beauty because their minds would be lifted to god.
The theory goes on to explain that supposedly when you looked at the painting you immediately felt a heavenly love. Another way of understanding neoplatonic ideas is by thinking about it like a platonic relationship with god.
During the Middle Ages there was rarely nudity in paintings so this artwork stands out. Humanism was influential during this time so people had a renewed interest for Greek and Roman mythology, and along with that the nudity in the mythology.
Botticelli based Venus’s pose off sculptures of goddesses like the Greek goddess Aphrodite, specifically the sculpture Venus de Milo.
Her body is outlined in black to make her stand out from the background and make her look more like a statue. During this time period women had to keep their hair long and Botticelli’s representation of Venus reflected that.
Not only does it show social norms, her hair is also used to create modesty in the painting. The background also important because it shows the realistic technique and subject matter. The shell located at the bottom of the painting represents the birth of venus.
Because there are no shadows included in the painting it is not considered naturalism, but a fantasy painting. This piece is important to the Renaissance because it captures one of the important aspects of Neoplatonism; a higher power of love