Friday, 10 February 2017

Venus was her name


Botticelli, Birth of Venus


Venus was a major Roman goddess principally associated with love, beauty and fertility, as well as plough lands and gardens. Since many of the figures of Roman mythology were largely appropriated from the Greek tradition, Venus is very similar to Aphrodite, the goddess of love in the Greek pantheon.

The story of Venus' birth, borrowed directly from the Greeks, explains that she arose from the foam of the sea shore. This miraculous creation resulted after Saturn castrated his tyrant father, the supreme sky god Caelus (equivalent to the Greek Uranus). After Saturn had sliced off Caelus' genitals, he promptly threw them into the sea. As the genitals drifted over the water, the blood and (or, in some versions, the semen) that issued forth from the severed flesh mixed with the sea water to foment the growth of the child who would become Venus.

Now almost everyone knows the painting by Sandro Botticelli (above), the Italian master that made this painting in or around 1480. It's a very famous painting showing a rather modest Venus being born as a full grown woman. But there are other wonderful painting about this subject. Strange how well known artists in their days are now completely forgotten. Like Fritz Zuber-Buhler a Swiss painter that painted this painting below around 1850. In the style of the Paris salons at the time, he made this painting that is now in the Porczyński Gallery in Warsaw, Poland.

Zuber-Buhler, Birth of Venus
400 years later, same subject. Different quality of paint. Venus was the patron goddess of prostitutes. And whose functions encompassed love, beauty, desire, sex, fertility, prosperity and victory.This last painting I haven't seen before, but it's such a good example of 19th century eroticism, I just had to share it with you.


6 comments:

  1. To me, not only is there more eroticism, but there is more joy and sensuality in Zuber-Buhler's Birth of Venus than in Botticelli's. I don't remember ever seeing Zuber-Buhler's version before. Thank you so much for sharing, Han.

    Hugs and blessings...Cat

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    1. No, I was not familiar with the Z-B painting either. Botticelli's version I saw many, many times. The Z-B version is a very sensuous painting and I can see it hanging there in the decadent Paris salons at the time.

      Han

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  2. I had never see the second version, but I am drawn to it, maybe for the reasons Cat listed. Thanks for once again intoducing me to something new. hugs abby

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    1. I suspect strongly it's the colour and length of her hair that makes it really interesting.

      I love it.
      Han

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  3. Beautiful paintings both of them.
    Thank you gor this education , magister Han.

    Mona Lisa

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    1. Smile, a teacher huh? Maybe. Well I like to spot new things and new paintings. It is wonderful to wander around in a museum and just gaze upon the beauty there.

      Han

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