The Birth of Venus is a painting by Sandro Botticelli. It depicts the goddess Venus, having emerged from the sea as a full grown woman, arriving at the sea-shore. The painting is currently in the Uffizi Gallery in Florence.
The second painting is a less recognized version of the goddess in Germany surrounded by controversial war and Nazis. This painting is presently held in a modern museum in the city of Aachen, Germany.
This large picture by Botticelli may have been, like the Primavera, painted for Lorenzo di Pierfrancesco de' Medici's Villa di Castello, around 1482, or even before. Some scholars suggest that the Venus painted for Lorenzo. Some experts believe it to be a celebration of the love of Giuliano di Piero de' Medici. It must be noted that Botticelli himself also privately loved the beautiful Simonetta, who was de' Medici's mistress. Whatever inspired the artist, there are clear similarities to Ovid's Metamorphoses and Fasti, as well as to Poliziano's Verses. Simonetta is also believed to have been the model for Venus in this painting, as well as for several other women in other Botticelli works, such as Primavera.
The classical goddess Venus emerges from the water on a shell, blown towards shore by the Zephyrs, symbols of spiritual passions. She is joined by one of the Horae, goddesses of the seasons, who hands her a flowered cloak.
The effect, nonetheless, is distinctly pagan, considering it was made at a time and place when most artworks depicted Roman Catholic themes. It is somewhat surprising that this canvas escaped the flames of Savonarola's bonfires, where a number of Botticelli's other alleged pagan influenced works perished. Botticelli was very close to Lorenzo de Medici. Because of their friendship and Lorenzo's power, this work was spared from Savonarola's fires and the disapproval of the church.
The anatomy of Venus and various subsidiary details do not display the strict classical realism of Leonardo da Vinci or Raphael. Most obviously, Venus has an improbably long neck, and her left shoulder slopes at an anatomically unlikely angle. Such details only enhance the great beauty of the painting, and some have suggested it prefigures mannerism.
The modern version of this masterpiece is not classical enhanced by distinct mechanical lines and dull pale colors of contemporary realism. The Goddess, Venus, is flanked by both raging citizens, and modern controversial rule. Both painting have a sense of controversy for similar political reasons but distinctly different eras and genres.
Jean-Auguste-Dominique Ingres (Montauban, 1780-Paris, 1867)Une OdalisqueLa Grande Odalisque1814Oil on canvasH. 0.91 m; L. 1.62 mPurchased 1899R.F. 1158PaintingsSigned and dated in the lower right-hand corner: "I. A. INGRES P. AT 1814 ROM."
All of my pictures are available at http://www.flickr.com/photos/desaraev/sets/
The work was thought to have been originally housed in the Benedictine Monastery of St Ambrose. There is however an anomaly, neither St Ambrose nor any of the other Benedictine patron saints are pictured, rather Cosmas and Damian, saints traditionally associated with the Medici kneel at the feet of the Madonna. Also portrayed in the work are Mary Magdalen, John the Baptist, St Francis and St Catherine of Alexandria. The presence of St Francis suggests that it may be the Botticelli panel Vasari saw in the church of San Francesco in Montevarchi in the 16th century.
The painting is also known as Of the Converted Sisters) as it was believed to have originated from the alterpiece of that convent, but since disproved.This is the first known alterpiece by Botticelli and it shows the influence of his teacher Lippi and Verrocchio (once again for the metallic quality of the clothing).