The Birth of Venus
by Botticelli
Sandro Botticelli, 1483-1485 about
Tempera on canvas 278,172 cm x 53 cm
Firenze, Galleria degli Uffizi
A Greek statuary marble with the face of Madonna, Venus is the symble of ideal
beauty. Born from the sea, carried by a large shell that is pushed ashore by the breath
of Zephyrus and Chloris intertwined, whereas now the personification of spring,
comes close to wrap it in a beautiful flowered cloak. As noted, the relationship
between the two female figures and the composition of gestures takes classic
iconography of the baptism of Christ by John the Baptist and invests the mythological
tale of wider meanings. In this way, the Botticelli shows his familiarity with cultural
circles of the time and in particular the Neo-Platonic philosophy in ancient myth that
saw the anticipation of Christian ideas. The Birth of Venus, along with spring and
tames Pallas and the centaur, Botticelli was commissioned by Lorenzo di
Pierfrancesco de’ Medici Villa di Castello, in the Florentine countryside. The three
paintings, all large, represent an important innovation in painting at the time, because
for the first time a secular theme was treated with the same dignity and the same
imposing measures reserved for religious blades.
In our opinion the Venus represents the stereotype of beauty of the early Renaissance.
We are very struck by the landscape, in particular the sea and the big shell where she
raises from water. She has a very nice face with an expression that kindles me
sweetness. But surely the most evident characteristic is her beautiful long curly hair
moved by the wind.
And, even if at first with a careful look she would appear full of proportional faults, it
gives her a great composure.
We have chosen this picture to represent the period between 1300 and 1500. We
think that it is one of the most meaningful works of that period. We admire it for the
feelings that it transmits us, for example serenity for its completely coloured scenery
with slim tonality and with very simple lines that allow us to focus the attention on
the Venus. Another characteristic of the picture is the sinuosity that strikes from the
softness and the roundness of the forms giving a sense of more compactness and
sinuousity. Despite the proportions not always perfect of the figures, we think that
pure and simple beauty is perfectly mirrored by the Venus drawn by the Botticelli,
serene and simple in its nudity.