Sandro Botticelli’s The Birth of Venus is reputed to be one of the most famous paintings in the world. Its centre piece features the naked goddess Venus drifting to shore on a giant scallop shell. She is akin to a “blow-in”, aided by the wind God Zephyr and Aura, a lighter breeze. On the shoreline waiting to cover the new arrival’s nakedness is said to be a representation of the Hora of Spring, one of the goddesses of the four seasons.
Although there are many interpretations applied to the painting, none that I am aware of reveal narratives of its time that Botticelli embedded in the scene, or the primary source of inspiration for his off-balance Venus.
The disguised narratives and the source for the tilting Venus connect to Botticelli’s other painting Primavera.
More on this in a future post.