The Birth of Venus by Sandro Boticelli

Since time immemorial, humanity has been fascinated by the gods and goddesses of Antiquity. It’s not really surprising that during the Renaissance, several master artists including one Sandro Botticelli wanted to capture some, if not all, of the most romantic moments of the ancient gods and goddesses. Ancient Greece and Rome mythology, being the most favorite of all mythologies, are full of such events, thus today, we are going to look at, describe, and analyze one of Botticelli’s most prized painting made during the Italian Renaissance; The Birth of Venus.

Where Art Thou Venus?

At present time, the painting can be seen sitting on the wall in Room 10-14 and measures at around 172.5 X 278.5 cm. The painting is large but not as large as Botticelli’s other painting, the Primavera.  The painting was done on two pieces of canvas that were sewn together with the gesso ground painted blue. Made from a time when the canvas was gaining popularity among painters and painting patrons, one can deduce that Botticelli wanted the painting to become a favorite of the masses, despite being a master artist sponsored by the powerful Medici Family of Florence.

Saved from the Bonfires

It is not surprising why after Lorenzo de Medici’s death in 1492, the painting became one of the targets of the “Bonfire of the Vanities” It was during this dreadful time when the mad monk, Savaranola, who deeply criticized the Medici’s that their love for the arts and music had corrupted Florence to sin, tried to burn this painting among others.  In fact, poor Boticelli suffered a mental breakdown due to Savaranola’s ravings and was deeply tempted to throw the painting into a huge 7-story pyre in the Piazza dela Signora to show his deep remorse for becoming Medici’s favorite painter.

Fortunately, the Birth of Venus was seen more in a Christian light because it echoes that of Eve in the Garden of Eden. Thus, the painting was saved from being burned to a crisp! 

And for that, we have to be thankful to the beauty of such painting that it was able to save itself from an angry burning mob on its own!

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