Sandro Botticelli’s Painting, The Birth of Venus
Sandro Botticelli (1444-1510) was a Florentine painter. Almost all of
Botticelli’s life was spent in Florence. His genre of painting was
based around mythological ideals and also religious subject matter.
Botticelli painted in a highly personal style characterized by elegant
execution, a sense of melancholy, and a strong emphasis on line;
details appear as sumptuous still life’s. His paintings like The Birth
of Venus, were a great impact on the Humanist art movement. Humanism
was a belief in human effort rather than religion, showing emphasis on
education and the expansion of knowledge; focusing especially on
The Birth of Venus shows Venus riding upon a giant cockle shell,
intently this focuses our attention directly towards her. Other
figures in the painting include Zephyrus (the west wind) and the nymph
Pomona. The painting is a mythological narrative which illustrates the
birth of Venus, goddess of love. The narrative has given us the
explanation that “Zephyrus (the west wind) blows Venus, born of the
sea foam and carried on a cockle shell, to her sacred island, Cyprus.
There, the nymph Pomana runs to meet her with a brocaded mantle.”
Botticelli has achieved a sense of movement in the painting; Zephyrus’
gusts catch the brocaded mantle in undulation, carrying also the
perfumed rose petals that swiftly fall upon the whitecaps.
The Birth of Venus was painted in ca.1482 and has been exhibited at
the Galleria degli Uffizi in Florence. This painting was intended to
be one of Botticelli’s most famous artworks painted for the Medici.
The Medici were enthusiastic art collectors of the humanist art
movement during the Renaissance. This painting can also be considered
a relevant work of art, and the rebirth of the ancient ideal of beauty
in the early Renaissance.
The Birth of Venus is a work measuring approximately 5’ 8” x 9’ 1”.