Painting of the week No.11: Birth of Venus by Sandro Botticelli

Following our visit to Dulwich Picture Gallery I’ve gone all arty. My rule is that I must have stood in respectful awe in front of a painting, and that it left a lasting pleasing mental glow of having seen it up close. You’d be imagining that I’d post an article an art at Dulwich. Not just yet. The memory of Sandro Botticelli’s painting, Birth of Venus, at the Uffizi Gallery in Florence is stronger. [Click on image to expand].


I should say to start with that the painting is huge. It’s almost 6ft x 9ft. Painted between 1484-1486, it’s in the period when one needs a certain amount of interpretation to add to the enjoyment of the painting. The beauty of the Venus – the goddess of love – is meant to let the viewer contemplate the coming together of earthly and spiritual beauty and love.

Much of the painting is from classical mythology. To the left of the painting, Zephyr, the male spirit of the west wind along with his female companion blows her ashore in her scallop shell through a shower of pink roses. To the right of the painting is a myrtle tree, with Flora, goddess of spring offering her with a cloak.

You can find out more about the painting and the Renaissance following these links,

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