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Renaissance Art Map
 
   
   
Exploration:
Candro Botticelly  "Visual Poetry"
 
 
    Early life and career    
    Devotional paintings     
    Secular patronage and works    
    Mythological paintings    
    How the Nymph became a Goddess    
    Botticelli: lyrical precision    
    Late works    
    Illustrations for Dante's Divine Comedy and Dravings    
         
    APPENDIX: Venus - The Evening Star
 
   
 


 


Sandro Botticelli

1445-1510
Italy

 
 
 


APPENDIX



 

                    

 


Venus: The Evening Star



The Goddess of Love and her mysterious origins


(by K. Reichold and B. Graf)


 


You might swear that the goddess (Venus) came out of the waves. Her right hand covering her breasts, she wants to enthral us. And wherever she plants her divine foot, flowers spring up to greet the skies.

Angelo Poliziano, The Realm of Venus, c. 1475



 

The origins of the gods have always been a mystery and the origin of Venus is a particularly difficult case. Malicious tongues say that she came from the countryside. Probably a successor to an ancient mother goddess, she was venerated in what is now Italy as the patroness of gardens and vegetable farming — especially on Veneralia, the feast day of Venus, April. In defence of her reputation, one should add that she lost her earthmess early on. Beginning in the fourth century BC she was equated in Rome with Aphrodite, the Greek goddess of love, who was the patroness of coquettish young women, of laughter and fun, and of sweet desire and clemency.
Aphrodite's origins are also rather uncertain, and the various legends about her birth contradict one another. These stones agree about one thing, that Aphrodite emerged from the sea. According to the early Greek poet Hesiod, who established the family tree of the Olympian gods, Aphrodite was born of the foam which billowed up around the genitals of her castrated father Uranus, which were cast into the sea by his son Saturn (Cronus), who was responsible for this violent act. Another legend tells us that Aphrodite was born in a bivalve shell. The Italian Humanist poet Angelo Poliziano (Politian), who was an advisor at the Medici court in Florence, elaborated on these ancient tales in his writings:

"And born within (the white
foam),
in rare and joyous acts
a maiden with a heavenly race
by playful zephyrs
is pushed to the shore.
She travels on a sea-shell;
and it seems
that the heavens rejoice."


The zephyrs, blowing a strong wind, steer her "ship" towards the Mediterranean island of Cyprus, where she is greeted by nymphs, who are "surprised by joy at the sight of her" and dress her in a cloak decorated with flowers — for even the goddess of love cannot remain nude forever. The Italian Renaissance painter Allesandro Filipepi, later known as Sandro Botticelli, may well have taken Poliziano's poem as the literary model for his painting The Birth of Venus. Probably commissioned by the Medici family, the painting depicts the goddess as the personification of Love. She is to lead the Florentines, who at the time were growing increasingly enthusiastic about Greek philosophy, back to its loftiest ideals: goodness, truth and beauty.
Today the planet Venus, sometimes called the Evening Star, is not the only reminder of how important the goddess once was. The fifth day of the week also bears her name: "Friday", and the German "Freitag", derive from the name of the Teuton goddess Freya, who was equated with Venus. Friday in Italian, venerdi, and in French, vendredi; respectively have retained much of the original sound of "Venus", and both mean "Venus Day".
 

 

   
Hans
von
Aachen
1552-1615
Germany


Venus, Bacchus and Cupid.
 

 

Hans
von
Aachen
1552-1615
Germany
 

Venus, Bacchus and Cupid.

 

 

 

Francesco
Albani
1578-1660
Italy

 

Venus at her Toilet.
1618
 

 

 

Eugene
Amaury-Duval
1808-1885
France

Venus

 

 

Jacopo
Amigoni
1685-1752
Italy

Venus and Adonis.
1740
Gallerie dell'Accademia, Venice

 

 

 

Jacopo
Amigoni
1685-1752
Italy

Venus and Adonis.

 

 

 

Jasques
de
Backer

1540-1600
France

Venus and Cupid.

 

 

 

Pompeo
Batoni
1708-1787
Italy

 
 


Venus Presenting Aeneas with Armour Forged by Vulcan.
 1748

 

 

 

Paris
Bordone
1500-1571
Italy

Venus , Mars and Cupid.
1550
Kunsthistorisches Museum, Vienna

 

 
 

Paris
Bordone
1500-1571
Italy


Venus , Mars and Vulcan.

 

 

 

Fernando
Botero
1932-
Colombia

   

Venus.
1989

 

 
 

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