BOTTICELLI’S BIRTH OF VENUS: 5 THINGS TO KNOW
To paint The Birth of Venus Botticelli drew inspiration from the myth about the birth of Venus, who was born out the sea foam in front of the island of Cyprus.
To depict the Birth of Venus Botticelli drew inspiration from mythology and literature, creating one of the greatest masterpieces housed in Florence.
Thus, here are 5 things to know about Botticelli’s masterpiece.
READ ALSO: What to do in Florence, an itinerary.
1. BOTTICELLI’S BIRTH OF VENUS: DATES AND COMMISSION
It took him two years to paint The Birth of Venus, from 1483 to 1485.
The work was commissioned by Lorenzo di Pierfrancesco de’Medici, a cousin of Lorenzo the Magnificent, who had already commissioned Botticelli Primavera (or The Allegory of Spring) a few years earlier (around 1482).
2. BOTTICELLI’S BIRTH OF VENUS: DESCRIPTION AND CHARACTERS
The protagonist of the artwork is the goddess Venus, whom Botticelli put on a shell and in the center of the painting.
The goddess is portrayed naked and attempts to cover herself with her own hands, while the wind gods Aura and Zephyr blow her towards the shore, where a girl (maybe one of the mythological figures called “Horae” or “Hours”) waits for her holding a cloak to dress the goddess.
In this work everything is symbolic, from the floral decoration of the dress worn by the girl waiting for Venus on the beach, up to the shower of roses falling from the sky. These details are taken from Greek mythology or they are symbols which identify the characters in the painting.
For example, the light-blue anemone on the beach and near the feet of the girl suggests that she is the Hora of Spring.
READ ALSO: Renaissance artist’s workshop.
3. BOTTICELLI’S BIRTH OF VENUS: MEANING
“The Birth of Venus” by Botticelli together with the other famous painting “Primavera”, is one of the most important profane allegories which allow us to understand the cultural climate of Florence at the times of Lorenzo the Magnificent, who gathered at his court the most important poets, intellectuals and artists of the Renaissance.
A place where they attempted to find a meeting point between the Greek-Roman cultural heritage and the Christianity through a current of thought called Neo-Platonism. Therefore, Botticelli’s Venus represents an ideal of beauty and perfection, which through the representation of the body and the proportions of each element becomes the best example of the harmony of creation.
4. WHO BOTTICELLI’S VENUS WAS
To paint his Venus Botticelli certainly used a model, like all the artists of that time did, but in this case some art historians hypothesized that the model was Simonetta Vespucci.
She was a very beautiful woman, to whom probably Botticelli was bound by a deep feeling.
To know all the aspects of their story you can read the post I dedicated to Botticelli’s muse, where you’ll find some curiosities about Botticelli’s life.
5. WHERE BOTTICELLI’S BIRTH OF VENUS IS HOUSED
Botticelli’s Birth of Venus has been housed at the Uffizi Gallery in Florence since 1815, and is one of the most important masterpieces of the museum, and in fact I put it on the list of the works you can’t miss at the Uffizi Gallery.
If you want to admire Botticelli’s Birth of Venus read the post containing all the information to book your ticket to the Uffizi Gallery and skip the line at the entrance.