The theme was probably suggested by the humanist Poliziano. It depicts Venus born from the sea foam, blown by the west wind, Zephyr, and the nymph, Chloris, towards one of the Horai, who prepares to dress her with a flowered mantle.
The Hora of Spring In the centre the newly-born goddess Venus stands nude in a giant scallop shell. Its size is purely imaginary, and is also found in classical depictions of the subject. He is in the air, and carries a young female, who is also blowing, but less forcefully.
Vasari was probably correct in identifying her as "Aura", personification of a lighter breeze. She is one of the three Horae or Hours, Greek minor goddesses of the seasons and of other divisions of time, and attendants of Venus.
The floral decoration of her dress suggests she is the Hora of Spring. However, the roses blown along with the two flying figures would be appropriate for Chloris. The subject is not strictly the "Birth of Venus", a title only given the painting in the nineteenth century though given as the subject by Vasaribut the next scene in her story, where she arrives on land, blown by the wind.
The land probably represents either Cythera or Cyprusboth Mediterranean islands regarded by the Greeks as territories of Venus. Canvas was increasing in popularity, perhaps especially for secular paintings for country villas, which were decorated more simply, cheaply and cheerfully than those for city palazzi, being designed for pleasure more than ostentatious entertainment.
There are differences to Botticelli's usual technique, working on panel supports, such as the lack of a green first layer under the flesh areas.
There are a number of pentimenti revealed by modern scientific testing. The Hora originally had "low classical sandals", and the collar on the mantle she holds out is an afterthought. The hair of Venus and the flying couple was changed.
There is heavy use of gold as a pigment for highlights, on hair, wings, textiles, the shell and the landscape. This was all apparently applied after the painting was framed. It was finished with a "cool gray varnish", probably using egg yolk.
Parts of some leaves at the top right corner, normally covered by the frame, have been less affected. Her whole body follows the curve of a Gothic ivory. It is entirely without that quality so much prized in classical art, known as aplomb; that is to say, the weight of the body is not distributed evenly either side of a central plumb line.
She is not standing but floating. Her shoulders, for example, instead of forming a sort of architrave to her torso, as in the antique nude, run down into her arms in the same unbroken stream of movement as her floating hair.
Her pose is impossible: The proportions and poses of the winds to the left do not quite make sense, and none of the figures cast shadows. Their bodies, by an endless intricacy of embrace, sustain the current of movement, which finally flickers down their legs and is dispersed like an electric charge.
The laurel trees and the grass below them are green with gold highlights, most of the waves regular patterns, and the landscape seems out of scale with the figures. This was first suggested by Herbert Horne in his monograph ofthe first major modern work on Botticelli, and long followed by most writers, but more recently has been widely doubted, though it is still accepted by some.
Various interpretations of the painting rely on this origin for its meaning. Although relations were perhaps always rather tense between the Magnifico and his young cousins and wards, Lorenzo di Pierfrancesco and his brother Giovanni di Pierfrancesco de' Mediciit may have been politic to commission a work that glorified the older Lorenzo, as some interpretations have it.
There may be a deliberate ambiguity as to which Lorenzo was intended to be evoked. In later years hostility between the two branches of the family became overt. Horne believed that the painting was commissioned soon after the purchase in of the Villa di Castelloa country house outside Florence, by Lorenzo and Giovanni, to decorate their new house, which they were rebuilding.
This was the year after their father died at the age of 46, leaving the young boys wards of their cousin Lorenzo il Magnifico, of the senior branch of the Medici family and de facto ruler of Florence.
In Vasari was himself painting in the villa, but he very possibly visited it before that. But in it emerged that, unlike the Primavera, the Birth is not in the inventory, apparently complete, made in of the works of art belonging to Lorenzo di Pierfrancesco's branch of the family.
Ronald Lightbown concludes that it only came to be owned by the Medici after that. The inventory was only published inand made many previous assumptions invalid.
Recent scholars prefer a date of around —86 on grounds of the work's place in the development of Botticelli's style. The Primavera is now usually dated earlier, after Botticelli's return from Rome in and perhaps around the time of Lorenzo di Pierfrancesco's wedding in July but by some still before Botticelli's departure.
They stayed in Castello untilwhen they were transferred to the Uffizi. For some years until they were kept in the Galleria dell'Accademiaanother government museum in Florence.The position of Venus in your birth chart means a lot for your personality and love life, according to Allure's resident astrologer.
Here's what you need to know about the planet of love's placement. The Birth of Venus: A Novel (Reader's Circle) - Kindle edition by Sarah Dunant. Download it once and read it on your Kindle device, PC, phones or tablets.
Use features like bookmarks, note taking /5(). Venus Murcia ("Venus of the Myrtle"), merging Venus with the little-known deity Murcia (or Murcus, or Murtia). Murcia was associated with Rome's Mons Murcia (the Aventine's lesser height), and had a shrine in the Circus Maximus.
Botticelli, Birth of Venus. This is the currently selected item. The Last Supper. The Last Supper. Dürer, Adam and Eve. Ceiling of the Sistine Chapel. Ceiling of the Sistine Chapel. Studies for the Libyan Sibyl and a small Sketch for a Seated Figure (verso) Last Judgment (altar wall, Sistine Chapel).
Sandro Botticelli, The Birth of Venus, , tempera on panel, 68 x 5/8" ( x cm), Galeria degli Uffizi, Florence Speakers: Dr. Beth Harris & Dr. Steven Zucker. The Birth of Venus is an iconic, mythological Renaissance masterpiece.
This vision of the Goddess of Love washed ashore on a sea-shell continues to .