Monday, June 14, 2010

The Birth of Venus


I'm going back to one of my favorite painters, the Italian master Sandro Botticelli.  This is maybe his most famous work, the rather large tempera painting which can be seen in the Uffizi Gallery in Florence.  We think it is painted in 1486, when Botticelli was around 40 years old.
The Roman goddess Venus has many similiartities with the Greek Afrodite, the deity of love.  She is also known as the mother of the Roman people.  Here she is born, resting on a shell and blown by the winds until she reaches the shore, where she is received by a nymphe who reaches out with a robe for her. 
There is a lot of of symbolism here, as the Roman (and Greek) gods almost always are allegories for different aspects of  humanity.  Exactly who the wind gods are, and who the nymphe is, has been debated, but everybody agrees with the main theme: Venus, allegory of  Love, is brought to us humans. 
And that is a good thing indeed.
I've seen this painting IRL twize, and in a few days I'll see it again, when I travel to Florence for a photography workshop.  I know I'll be emotional...

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