The Birth of Venus (1484-86) remains one of the profound treasures of the early Renaissance. The work, painted with tempera on canvas, depicts the female nude figure of the goddess Venus standing on dry land having emerged from the sea. It was commissioned by Lorenzo the Magnificent (1449-92) of the Medici Family, whose humanist quattrocento circle was particularly interested in classical mythology, and marks the culmination of the revival of ancient myths, within the context of a humanistic Renaissance art.
Venus represents the ideal Renaissance woman: thin, pale, and curvy. Botticelli exaggerates the lengths of her neck and leg in order to bring the viewer’s attention to her beautiful features, which almost seem too perfect to exist. In fact, based on the woman’s stance and position at the very tip of the shell, it is actually impossible for her to be standing upright (Birth of Venus).
Botticelli has picked out highlights in her hair with gold leaf and has emphasized the femininity of her body (long neck, curviness). The brilliant light and soothing colors, the luxurious garden, the gorgeous draperies of the nymph, and the roses floating around the beautiful nude all suggest that the painting is meant to bring pleasure to the viewer.
By Sara Alonso 3ºB