BOTTICELLI’S VENUS: THE BIRTH OF VENUS AND BOTTICELLI’S MUSE
Botticelli’s Venus. The days I spent in Florence in January were characterized by rest and relaxation, and those who followed me on Instagram could see what places I visited and what artworks I admired.
The most exciting day was the day I dedicated to my visit to the Uffizi Gallery.
Even though it was the second time I entered this extraordinary museum, I admired the masterpieces on exhibition as if it were the first time, and among them there was The Birth of Venus by Sandro Botticelli.
It’s one of the most beautiful paintings ever painted, but have you ever asked yourself if the woman depicted as Venus really existed?
In this post I’ll reveal who the model from whom Botticelli drew inspiration to represent the goddess of beauty was.
Sandro Botticelli is the Florentine artist who, during the Renaissance, more than others could create evocative images and depict the ideal of beauty in the delicate female forms.
In The Birth of Venus the goddess of beauty appears on the island of Cyprus, after having risen from the sea foam, as recounted by the ancient texts.
Botticelli painted an allegory where each detail is painted with precision and is placed with a precise meaning, and everything draws inspiration from the ideal proportions of Greek and Roman classical art.
This painting would be a point of reference for next generations of artists (among these artists Jean-Auguste-Dominique Ingres with his painting “The Source”).
It seems that Botticelli’s Venus was commissioned by the younger brother of Lorenzo de’ Medici, and the model used to represent Venus was Simonetta Cattaneo Vespucci, considered to be one of the most beautiful women in Florence.
Simonetta died in 1476, at the age of only 23, and Botticelli finished his painting The Birth of Venus 9 years later, keeping alive the memory of this girl who, maybe, was something more than a muse to him: maybe he was in love with her, like the brother of Lorenzo de’ Medici and Marco Vespucci, Simonetta’s husband.
What is certain is that Simonetta was considered to be the most fascinating woman in Florence, and she has gone down in history because also Domenico Ghirlandaio and Piero di Cosimo portrayed her in their works with her blonde hair and her gentle features.
In The Birth of Venus Simonetta is the goddess representing the ideal female beauty, meant as grace and nobility of spirit.
So, this painting would be an allegory of love.
Actually, Botticelli never forgot Simonetta, and before he died (in 1510) he wanted to be buried next to her, and still today you can find them side by side in the Church of Ognissanti (Church of All Saints) in Florence.
I went there and they are still side by side.
Suggestions for your visit
To admire Botticelli’s Venus you have to enter the Uffizi Gallery and you’d better book your ticket to jump the queue at the entrance.
All you have to do is visit the ticketing official website for State Florentine Museums (pay attention to unofficial sites you can find on the Web!): http://www.b-ticket.com/b-ticket/uffizi/info_venue.aspx.
Unfortunately, I couldn’t book online because it seemed that there were no tickets.
So, I called the call centre and I easily booked my visit choosing the day and the time I wanted. (I paid my ticket directly at the ticket office).
Call centre of Firenze Musei: 0039-055-294883 from Monday to Friday from 8.30 a.m. to 6.30 p.m., and on Sunday from 8.30 a.m. to 12.30 a.m.