Birth of Venus by Botticelli Term Paper

Pages: 10 (3077 words)  ·  Bibliography Sources: 5  ·  File: .docx  ·  Level: College Senior  ·  Topic: Art  (general)

Birth of Venus by Boticelli

The Birth of Venus -- Sandro Botticelli

The Italian Renaissance gave birth to a great number of debated concerning art and philosophy. It was during this movement that artists came to triumph over traditional convictions as they employed revolutionary convictions. Painters were typically employed by influential individuals in the state with the purpose of completing various artworks.

The House of de' Medici was most probably (there is no actual data to prove this) the institution that hired Sandro Botticelli at a certain time around 1485, assigning him the task of painting the Birth of Venus. In spite of the fact that there is little information regarding its origins, the painting is responsible for triggering a wave of popularity, with numerous individuals using it as inspiration in their field of work.

Botticelli was accustomed to painting portraits and works related to mythology or religion as a result of the contracts he signed with the de' Medici family. Considering that Renaissance was thriving to the end of the fifteenth century, it is not surprising that artists were inclined to create art based on a series of concepts in the past.

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Ancient art and mythology represented two of the most frequent elements Renaissance artists used in their sphere of influence. Roman beauty influenced Italian artists in taking art to a whole new level, one that involved an attempt to reach perfection through painting some of the most exquisite artworks ever produced throughout history. Classicality and ideals of perfections motivated painters like Botticelli in dedicating themselves completely to their work. Even though Botticelli has been given insufficient attention in the last few centuries, matters have changed in the recent decades, as the Italian painter has come to be recognized as a leading Renaissance painter (Singleton 20).

Term Paper on Birth of Venus by Botticelli Assignment

Botticelli wanted his painting of Venus' birth to unlike anything people saw before him, this being clear through the colors and the techniques he used. In spite of the fact that he used tempera for the painting, the illustration is definitely comparable with some of the most superb oil paintings done consequent to Botticelli's time. In spite of the fact that it was slightly affected through the passing of time, the painting basically stayed the same, highlighting the artist's magnificence.

The style Botticelli brought forward at the end of the fifteenth century was more than ground-breaking. While most of his contemporaries dedicated a great deal of their personal time to studying concepts that were relatively outdated for the period, he was reluctant to paint religious and naturalist related illustrations. "He sought inspiration in what to him were the works of the modern world, the writings of Dante and Boccaccio, and in new readings of his own on classical stories; or if he painted religious subjects, painted them with an undercurrent of original sentiment which touches you as the real matter of the picture through the veil of its ostensible subject" (Singleton 20). Botticelli's life is generally unknown, this likely being a result of his conservative nature. Life outside his workshop was boring, as painting had apparently been his only method of breaking away from tradition (Singleton 21).

In his attempt to reproduce the scene of Venus' birth as he imagined it, Botticeli painted the Goddes as she emerged from the water, inside a shell that appears to have been blown onto the shore by Zephyr (the god of winds) and Aura (breeze). Given that she is naked, the goddess is welcomed by Horae (goddess of seasons) handing her a piece of flowered material.

The painting is particularly significant as a Renaissance artwork because its theme is not connected to Christianity in any way. Italian painters from the period were devoted to put across religious concepts through their works, some of them even doing this when their paintings were not related to religion. In contrast, Botticelli used a pagan goddess as a subject for his painting and, moreover, he chose to represent her naked, making it almost impossible for his contemporaries to understand him. The Italian society did not denounce Botticelli's endeavor because of a series of reasons. One of the most probable reasons for which Italian authorities did not condemn the pagan concepts put across by "The Birth of Venus" was the fact that Botticeli was connected with the de' Medici family. Another possible motive for Botticelli's success might be that the Renaissance movement was raising more and more followers among the people of Italy (ed. Michel-Andre Bossy, Thomas Brothers, and John C. McEnroe 26).

Botticelli's works made him one of the most respected painters of his generation, especially given that "he received commissions from extremely prominent families in Florence, as well as an important commission from the Pope, and was known by art patrons throughout Italy" (ed. Michel-Andre Bossy, Thomas Brothers, and John C. McEnroe 26).

Matters changed however as Renaissance progressed and Botticelli's once daring paintings were obsolete for early sixteenth century's people. The Italian painter continued to be disregarded for more than three centuries consequent to his death, until the general public turned its attention away from concepts like realism and science in favor of embracing the impressive simplicity Botticelli employed in his paintings.

The Birth of Venus is presently regarded as one of the most representative paintings produced by the Renaissance. People generally appreciate this artwork because it is apparently easier to understand in comparison to more complicated paintings produced by Michelangelo, Rafael, or Da Vinci. However, the symbolic meaning of paintings such as the Birth of Venus has been forgotten and people are presently left to interpret it in accordance to their own convictions (ed. Michel-Andre Bossy, Thomas Brothers, and John C. McEnroe 26).

In wanting to paint the Birth of Venus, Botticelli detached himself from his previous conceptions and from the way he wanted to communicate his ideas. He did not want Venus' nakedness to express vulgarity, as he simply wanted it to be seen as a form of beauty. The sexuality present in the painting is more elaborate than physical sexuality, as its purpose is to be spiritual (Argan 32).

One of the main reasons for which the Birth of Venus is often associated with the de' Medici house is that along with Botticelli's Primavera, the painting was present in the country residence of Italy's most influential family in Costello somewhere around the early sixteenth century. With this information in mind, most people believed that both paintings were created for Lorenzo de' Medici (the Magnificent). Judging from this, it only seems fair to consider that the de' Medici family was the original contractor of this painting. Even with that, the actual individual who hired Botticelli is not known, as all that is obvious is that the artwork was meant to be hung in a country villa, considering that its content seems too much for the general public in sixteenth century's Italy.

De' Medici residences in large cities were typically decorated with paintings on wood, whereas canvas paintings (that were cheaper) could be found in a series of country villas. People in rural areas paid less importance to ornamental elements and to the quality with which these were created. De' Medici palaces were places where people could see a great display of opulence while the countryside houses primarily had the purpose of serving as a refuge for the times when people could no longer do with the agitation in the cities.

Paintings such as the Birth of Venus were not only meant to decorate country residences because they were cheaper, but also because they perfectly fitted the landscape and character of the countryside. "We know from contemporary accounts, for example, that the paintings hanging over the doors of the main rooms in the Medici country villa depicted landscapes with animals, women bathing, singers, and people dancing, bathed in the sunlight" (Deimling 52).

One can consider Venus' character in Botticelli's painting to be somewhat similar to an ancient statue, with the brightness of her skin resembling that of marble. The resemblance becomes even clearer when looking at the statue of Venus Pudica, which's posture is quite similar. The goddess' white skin is not necessarily meant to put across concepts like innocence, as the skin's paleness is giving viewers the feeling that she is dead. Botticelli is apparently interested in highlighting the fact that Venus is not warm and loving, but that she represents spiritual eroticism.

The painting as a whole expresses coldness, given that Venus's coming onto the shore takes place during a time of day when there is no sunlight. The feeling of coldness and the lack of warm light are supported producing a sentiment of quietness, considering that the island's shores are improbable to feel the presence of humans during these moments. Venus is present on the island long before people wake up, and judging from the look she has it appears that he is discontented with her mission.

The shore appears to be unwelcoming, considering the rugged terrain and the tall trees that are virtually… [END OF PREVIEW] . . . READ MORE

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APA Style

Birth of Venus by Botticelli.  (2010, November 17).  Retrieved March 4, 2021, from

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"Birth of Venus by Botticelli."  17 November 2010.  Web.  4 March 2021. <>.

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"Birth of Venus by Botticelli."  November 17, 2010.  Accessed March 4, 2021.