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Alessandro Boticelli's The Birth of Venus - Essay Example

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Alessandro Boticelli's The Birth of Venus

As David Alexander Scott maintains, the woman playing the role of the live nude goddess is assumed to have the properties of the image, i.e. substantially gratifying and monolithically sexual and the art of the period after the close of the medieval age has particular importance. "In the Western history of the Renaissance is the designated watershed that loosened the political power of the Christian church and allowed Eros a renewed, although circumspect, presence in art. Perhaps there is no greater icon of this age than Botticelli's painting The Birth of Venus in which the goddess, nude and unsure of herself, is blown to shore by the winds of change after an eternity of exile. The painting signaled a major breakthrough in one aspect of the medieval public policy on Eros, that of the inherent sinfulness of the naked body." (Scott, 197) Significantly, once the body as image had shed its ecclesiastical garments, the body's sensuality - the more heinous sin - was able to emerge by degrees in successive generations of renderings. Therefore, a reflective analysis of Alessandro Botticelli's painting The Birth of Venus brings out the obvious relationship between art and sexual values in the background of the society.
In a reflective analysis of Botticelli's The Birth of Venus, one recognizes that the sexual values found in the society of the artist find expression in the popular art of the society and the painting brings out the obvious relationship between art and sexual values. Significantly, Venus is the goddess of love and beauty and she exemplifies physical perfection. She, lacking the quirky, individual features that distinguish one woman from another, looks like no one in particular but familiar nevertheless. "In the ancient Greek tale, Venus is both sexual and divine, flesh and spirit. However, in Botticelli's painting, she appears neither sensual nor seductive and far too chaste to be erotic. Having just been born, she exists apart from the real world of human experience. Even the landscape setting, with its pale green sea, mathematically scalloped waves and serrated shore, supports this impression of her as an abstract ideal." (Cohn, 73) Therefore, it is obvious that the sexual values found in the society of Botticelli had an essential influence on the painting and Botticelli has been careful in representing these particular values.
It was in the background of the middle of 1480s that the famous painting by Botticelli was painted and there is apparent relationship between the painting and the sexual values of this period. In the painting, Venus is standing in the centre of the picture on a seashell floating in the water, in accordance with the classical mythology which says that she sprang from the floating waters of the sea. "The figure of Venus appears in Botticelli's painting almost like a classical statue. Botticelli has gone over the contours of the figure with a black line, causing them to stand out sharply from the surface of the picture and emphasizing their curious clarity and coldness." (Deimling, 52) The depiction of the goddess of lo ...Show more


The sexual values found in different societies find expression in the popular art of these societies and there is an essential relationship between various art forms and sexual values of the period. Historically, we can examine these sexual values by viewing them through the window of art and there are several examples in various art forms to illustrate this relationship between art and sexual values…
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Alessandro Boticellis The Birth of Venus essay example
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