100 Days of Art History Jinjins


The Birth of Venus

I can't help it, I love this painting. I love this painting so much that I had to copy it, even though it broke my self-imposed no nudity rule. (That said, I did cover the nipples. Some things still crossed my personal boundaries.)

This is an iconic painting of Venus, by Sandro Botticelli. She is the goddess of love, being born from the sea, attended by the winds on the left and a Hora (minor goddess of the seasons) on the right. This painting has become a symbol for art and beauty--this particular Venus was even the logo in the first loading screens of Adobe Illustrator.

As beautiful as this painting is, it's also kind of goofy. Venus's proportions are improbably long and lanky, and the face of that wind god blowing a breeze on the left is exaggerated as well--he's almost trying to spit on her. That's the aspect of the painting I relished the most when I copied it. I love to find the silly and lighthearted side of subjects we're asked to think of as serious and untouchable high culture.

I like Botticelli a lot. His work is graceful and precise, while usually also being a little playful.

I saw this painting in real life at the Uffizi in Florence. It's beautifully preserved and huge. The detail I remember the most is that there is shiny gold gilding on it, especially in her hair. Worth an IRL visit!

Reference image is from Wikipedia. It is now in the Uffizi Gallery in Florence.

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