Botticelli’s Birth of Venus
The myth tells that Saturn (Cronos), god of time, tears and throws the genitals of his father Caelos (Uranus) and fertilizes the sea.
The friction of the foam engenders Venus which, with the help of the wind, is transported to the shores of the island of Cyprus in a seashell.
There, she is carried by the Hours to the place of the Immortals.
The characters in the canvas The Birth of Venus by Sandro Botticelli are Venus, Céfiro, Chloris and the allegory of the Hours.
Venus stars in the center of the painting, posing naked on a shell that has brought her to shore.
His body forms a sinuous line
A disproportionate neck supports the head that leans to the left (contraposto) while the hip is directed to the right.
The long and abundant mane floats in the air.
Its extension allows him to hide his body, while one of his hands rests on his chest.
To the left of the canvas are Zephyrus, the god of the wind, and his wife Chloris, goddess of flowers, who drops some on the scene.
Both gods are represented with wings, floating in the air, dressed in cloaks that cover their private parts.
Zephyrus blows over Venus and carries her to a safe shore where a woman awaits her. It is an allegorical allusion to the Hours, the three goddesses of the seasons.
This woman, located to the right of the canvas, wears a white dress printed with flowers, ready to warm Venus with a flowery cloak on a pink background.
Botticelli’s Birth of Venus is the birth of the Renaissance idea of femininity.
The background landscape is not worked in detail.
The treatment of the sea foam and the shine of the water is flat and breaks the illusion of spatial depth, achieved in the wooded landscape that to the right of the canvas.
This pictorial neglect forces the viewer to focus their gaze on the characters.
The seashell Venus is on on the canvas is a symbol of female fertility.
Here the shell is a symbol of the personal rebirth that virtue brings.
Rose Marie & Rainer Hagen, Los secretos de las obras de arte. Un estudio detallado. Alemania. Taschen 2001.