Botticelli Bequeaths to the History of Art One of its Most Sublime Masterpieces

Botticelli Bequeaths to the History of Art One of its Most Sublime Masterpieces

photo credit: wikimedia.com

This breathtaking masterpiece was painted by Sandro Botticelli, one of the most celebrated artists of all time and a remarkable protagonist of the Early Italian Renaissance. The painting, ultimated in 1484, depicts the delicate and charming Venus arriving at the shore in a scallop shell. The two winged bodies embellished with roses represent the blowing winds that gently pushed the Goddess in her journey. The woman on the right, typically identified as one of the Three Graces, is ready to cover Venus with a light pink cloak embroidered with flowers, especially daisies. Behind her, are some vigorous sweet orange trees of which the fronds are tipped in gold.

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Botticelli's style lays afar from pure naturalism, as he rarely gives weight and volume to his subjects or uses a deep spatial perspective. In fact, the body of Venus is anatomically unreal because of its rather long neck and bust, and her position on the edge of the shell is improbable as it would cause her to tip over. The bodies and poses of the winds to the left are also intricate and questionable and like all the other elements of the painting, they don't cast shadows. It is clearly a fantastical composition. 

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The symbolic attribution that has been mostly accredited sees in the painting the representation of the Humanitas, a superior virtue incarnated by sublime beauty and born through the union of spirit and matter, of idea and nature, according to the philosophical principles of Neoplatonism that circulated around the Medici family of Florence. More recently, a new interpretation emerged: Venus, pushed by Zephyr reached the Tuscan shore protected by the golden tips of the trees (notable symbols of the Medici family), thus giving life to a new era in the peaceful and flourishing land of the Medicis. 

(uffizi.org)

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