Who is ‘The Damned Man’?

This image shows detail from Michelangelo’s Last Judgement fresco painted between 1536 and 1541 on the altar wall of the Sistine Chapel in Vatican City.

I have circled two areas of interest. The upper part depicts a muscular St Bartholomew, said to have been martyred by being skinned alive, hence the skinning knife seen in his right hand and the flayed carcass held in his left hand. However, the face depicted on the carcass has been identified as that Michelangelo. It even shows his broken nose.

The second area of interest shows a man in a sitting position being dragged down to Hell by creatures from the underworld. He is usually referred to as The Damned Man or The Damned Soul. He has never been clearly identified although one commentator, Daniel B. Gallagher, writing for the New York Arts journal, has suggested the figure is a “quasi self-portrait, a tortured Michelangelo [who] assumes the role of someone who has gained the world but forfeited himself.”

For sure, there is a relationship between the distorted portrait of Michelangelo featured on the flayed skin and The Damned Man figure, but my understanding is that the man depicted weighed down by evil spirits is not another portrayal of Michelangelo, but of his rival Leonardo da Vinci.

More on this in my next post.

Clothing the naked

In a post I made some four months ago – More Hidden Gems – I explained how the figure of Mars in Botticelli’s Primavera painting also represented St Martin of Tours who, as a Roman soldier, once sliced his cloak in half to cover a naked beggar he met at the gates of Amiens.

A similar motif is presented in Botticelli’s Birth of Venus. A female figure steps toward the shoreline offering a cloak to cover and support the naked Venus as she disembarks from her sea journey. The figure of Venus also represents Ecclesia, the Church, and in this instance the Church in need.

The motifs connect in more than one way, but in a biblical sense they refer to the Last Judgment passage in Matthew’s gospel when Jesus said “I was naked and you clothed me.”

St Martin Dividing his Cloak, Anthony van Dyck, c 1618

32 years ago…

This weather-worn adhesive sticker is adhered to one of the steps on ladders outside my home. It features the stick figure design by Lucio Boscardin for the Italia 90 World Cup mascot.

I was there for the event in 1990 ‘snapping’ images of the U.S. men’s national team and their games in Florence and Rome.

I still have all the images I took on file, if anyone out there is interested.

Armistice Day and St Martin’s Day

Amistice Day, also known as Veterans Day, is commemorated every year on November 11 to mark the armistice signed between the Allies of World War 1 and German at Compiègne, France, at 5:45am for the cessation of hostilities on the Western Front of World War 1, which took effect at eleven in the morning – the “eleventh hour of the eleventh day of the eleventh month. (Wikipedia)

The feast of St Martin of Tours is celebrated on this day also, and sometimes referred to as Martinmas or St Martin’s Day. The fourth century Roman soldier, who later became a bishop in Gaul, features in Botticelli’s famous Primavera painting. Details at this link.

Other viewpoints

A recent discovery that a painting by the Dutch abstract artist Piet Mondrian (1872-1944) has been exhibited upside down for 75 years has caused quite a stir in the art world. The Art, Law and More blog has details about the finding and artwork titled New York City 1.

New York City 1 (unfinished) by Piet Mondrian

I wonder if the detection will change any understanding or perception of the painting (or even the artist) now that it can be viewed from a different perspective?

Sometimes paintings require a degree of rotation, or to be mirrored, in order to convey further information.

Jan Van Eyck was not adverse to using this technique. Neither were Sandro Botticelli and Hugo Van der Goes. Even Rembrandt.

Examples of this approach can be seen at these links.

More on Rembrandt’s ‘turnaround’ etching.
Man in a Red Turban
Leaning towards Pisa

Little and large

This sharp-featured monk is one of twelve figures gathered at the bedside of the Virgin Mary in the famous painting by Hugo Van der Goes, mentioned in yesterday’s post, The Death of of the Virgin.

The figure gripping the headboard represents two people, Thomas the doubting disciple of Jesus, and Thomas á Kempis, who wrote the popular book on Christian meditation, The Imitation of Christ. A description of this scene is at this link.

I also pointed out in my previous post that Rembrandt’s 1439 engraving titled The Death of the Virgin is a work that pays homage to Hugo Van der Goes and includes many figures who feature in Hugo’s paintings.

A famous quote associated with Thomas à Kempis is: “I have sought everywhere for peace, but I have found it not, save in nooks and in books.” – often adapted to a shorter version: “In a little corner with a little book”. This quotation is a key to locating his place and confirming his identity in Hugo’s painting.

Rembrandt linked to this quote in his engraving, but there is nothing little about his version. The ‘little book’ becomes the ‘big book’ placed at the corner of the table in front of the prominent seated figure in the foreground.

But who is this mysterious figure with his back to the viewer? Could there be a connection to the figure opposite, peering across the room through the ‘nook’ in the curtain?

Face to Face with Death

Face to Face with Death’ is the title of a new exhibition that features Hugo Van der Goes’ famous painting, The Death of the Virgin.

Over the past four years the painting has been extensively restored and is now the central focus of an exhibition opening today in Saint John’s Hospital in Brugge, Belgium, until February 5, 2023.

The Death of the Virgin is one of the most important works in Musea Brugge’s world famous collection of Flemish primitive art. The Museum’s website explains:

“By exploring six different themes, this exhibition will take a deeper look at ‘The Death of the Virgin’. Each theme will be developed with reference to other great masterpieces, some of which belong to the Musea Brugge collection, while others have been brought to Bruges from all over Europe. These works include paintings by Hans Memling, Jan Provoost and Albrecht Bouts, but sculptures, manuscripts and pieces of music will also be used to bring visitors face to face with death in its different forms. In total, more than seventy works of art will be displayed.”

It would be interesting to know if Rembrandt’s famous etching produced in 1639 and with the same title, The Death of the Virgin, is on display at the exhibition. The etching (shown below) is a tribute to Van der Goes and features several characters from many of his paintings. It could be said that the person dying in bed is not the Virgin Mary but Hugo Van der Goes!

I posted some details on Hugo’s painting some time ago, and also on Rembrandt’s etching at these links:

In a little corner with a little book
Seeing humility in a mirror

Rembrandt’s homage to Hugo
The art of homage
More on Rembrandt’s ‘turnaround’ etching
Who is my mother? Who are my brothers?

Magi on show in Minneapolis

I see that Sandro Botticelli’s Adoration of the Magi is currently on show at the Minneapolis Institute of Art. It forms part of an exhibition titled: Botticelli and Renaissance Florence: Masterworks from the Uffizi. The exhibition runs from October 16, 2022 to January 8, 2023.

Details about the exhibition can be found at this link, but it won’t give you the inside story about the painting and the disguised narrative embedded by Botticelli. For this information go here

John the Baptist set for Abu Dhabi

One of Leonardo da Vinci’s most renowned paintings, Saint John the Baptist, is about to make an international trip from its home at the Musée du Louvre in Paris to the Louvre Abu Dhabi.

Saint John the Baptist, Leonardo da Vinci, Louvre, Paris

The 16th-century painting will be loaned to the Abu Dhabi museum for a period of two years to celebrate the institution’s fifth anniversary. Details at this link.

Louvre Abu Dhabi

Uncovering a conspiracy in Botticelli’s Birth of Venus

In 1475 Pope Sixtus IV nominated Francesco Salviati Riario as Archbishop of Pisa, the position left vacant following the death of Filippo de’ Medici in October 1474. The appointment did not meet with the approval of the Medici family in Florence who had earlier blocked Salviati’s attempt to become Archbishop of Florence in 1474.

The outcome was that Salviati, a known antagonist of the Medici, never occupied his diocesan chair in Pisa but remained in Rome even though he was the Church’s official choice as archbishop.

Some years later Salviati saw his opportunity for taking revenge against the Medici when he conspired with others to assassinate both Lorenzo de’ Medici and his brother Giuliano, in a plot that became known as the Pazzi Conspiracy.

Pope Sixtus IV

With the support of Pope Sixtus IV, who was sympathetic to replacing the control the Medici held over Florence, Salviati, was joined by Girolamo Riario and Francesco de’ Pazzi in planning the assassination of the two brothers.

Despite the best laid plans, the coup failed, even though Giuliano was murdered in the process. The attackers failed to see off Lorenzo and the alarm was raised, resulting in the plotters and their accomplices being captured and executed with haste and without trial or any mercy shown.

According to historian Harold Acton,“Francesco de’ Pazzi  was pulled bleeding and naked from his hiding place and hanged from a window of the city palace. The Archbishop of Pisa was hanged beside him and as he fell, he bit at the dead body of Francesco; the halter tightening round his throat, he held onto the corpse with his teeth.”

Girolamo Riario

Girolamo Riario, as a nephew of Pope Sixtus IV, was not at the scene on the day of slaughter, even though he was one of the main instigators of the plot. In January 1473 he had married Caterina Sforza the illegitimate daughter of Galeazzo Maria Sforza, duke of Milan. She was ten years old at the time. Ten years after the Pazzi Conspiracy, Girolamo himself was assassinated on April 14, 1488, by members of the Orsini family.

Girolamo Riario, Francesco de’ Pazzi, and Archbishop Francesco Salviati are all referenced in Botticelli’s Birth of Venus, as is Bernardo Bandini Baroncelli who struck the first blow against Giuliano de’ Medici.

The leaning figure of Ecclesia (Venus) is not only a pointer to the leaning Tower of Pisa and so to Archbishop Salviati, but also to the nepotism practiced by Pope Sixtus IV whose nominations and appointments leaned to those of his own friends and family.

The Birth of Venus, Sandro Botticelli, Uffizi, Florence

My next post will deal with uncovering the iconography that refers to the identities of the Pazzi conspirators Botticelli disguised in the Birth of Venus.

Botticelli’s ’Madonna of the Magnificat’ set for auction

Sandro Botticelli, Madonna of the Magnificat, ca. 1480s.Photo © Christie’s

A Sandro Botticelli painting of the Virgin Mary that was once owned by the late Microsoft cofounder Paul Allen will be auctioned Christie’s this November. The house expects that it will fetch more than $40 million, making it one of the most expensive works from Allen’s estate to head to sale. More details at this link.

A case of mistaken identity

Detail from The Gallery of Cornelis van der Geest, by Willemvan Haecht, Rubenshuis, Antwerp

This less than joyous gentleman climbing a staircase to enter the home of Cornelis van der Geest is generally assumed to be Willem van Haecht, the artist and curator who painted gallery or ‘cabinet’ scenes of the Antwerp spice merchant’s art collection.

But it’s not Willem.

He is an English rector by the name of Thomas Salter who in 1579 translated and plagiarised a treatise by the Venetian writer and historian Giovanni Michele Bruto (1517–1592). Bruto’s  treatise was a conduct book for young ladies and titled, La Institutione di una Fanciulla Nata Nobilmente. It was printed in 1555 in two languages, Tuscan and French, by the Antwerp bookbinder Christophe Plantin. Salter’s version was titled, A Mirrhor mete for all Mothers, Matrones, and Maidens, intituled the Mirrhor of Modestie

Engraving by Thomas Cross the Elder, NPG D21353, National Portrait Gallery, London

The National Portrait Gallery in London houses a mid 17th century engraving by Thomas Cross (NPG D21353) identified as “A member of the Salter family, possibly Thomas Salter”.

Thomas Salter was a rector of St Mellion, Cornwall, who died in 1625, three years before Willem van Haecht completed the painting in 1628 in which Salter is featured, known as The Gallery of Cornelis van der Geest.

The Gallery of Cornelis van der Geest, by Willem Van Haecht, Rubenshuis, Antwerp

Thomas Cross (the Elder) was active between 1632 and 1685. He produced several book title pages in a ‘cabinet’ or gallery format. His engraving of Thomas Salter was inspired by Van Haecht’s portrayal of the rector in the Van der Geest ‘cabinet’ painting and having knowledge of the back story and clues embedded by the Flemish painter.

A cabinet format frontispiece by Thomas Cross the Elder, 1668,

More about decoding the iconography that identifies Thomas Salter in a future post.

More on the Four Cardinal Virtues

In a previous post I pointed out that Botticelli adapted the Four Cardinal Virtues sculpted on the early 14th century pulpit in Pisa Cathedral and featured them in his Birth of Venus painting. 

The Four Cardinal Virtues that surround the figure of Ecclesia featured on the pulpit in Pisa Cathedral.
Left to right: Fortitude, Prudence, Justice and Temperance.

I  explained how the central figure of Venus in Botticelli’s painting represented Ecclesia (the Church) and also both the virtues of Justice and Prudence. The figure about to cover up the naked Venus, sometimes referred to as a goddess of the seasons, represents the two other Cardinal Virtues, Fortitude and Temperance.

The Birth of Venus, Sandro Botticelli, Uffizi, Florence

My previous post also demonstrated how Botticelli adapted a drawing by Villard de Honnecourt for the woman’s composition. She is shaped to represent a buttress to support the tilting Venus, or Ecclesia in a state of nakedness representing the perceived failings and faults of the Church of the time.

One of Fortitude’s symbols is a lion, as seen in Giovanni Pisano’s pulpit sculpture. In Botticelli’s painting a lion’s head is formed by the shape of the red cloak, it’s mane being the long hair of the woman. The shape is also meant to mirror the head of the horse as in Villard’s drawing, except there is a small difference. The right fetlock of Villard’s horse appears to be growing out of the animal’s forehead or forelock.

United Kingdom coat of Arms

This is matched by Botticelli with a similar feature grasped by the woman’s right hand. In this instance it represents a horn attached to the head of the horse and so becomes a unicorn. Both lion and unicorn are often featured as support symbols in heraldic coats of arms.

Another symbol associated with Fortitude is a yoke. This can be recognised as the red cloak’s collar or the mouth of the lion-cum-unicorn whose head is harnessed by the woman’s arms. The harness or bridle, a form of restraint, is also a symbol associated with Temperance. 

Fish is another symbol attributed to Temperance; so are water and wine jugs. The lower half of the red cloak represents a fish, it’s tail held in the grip of the woman’s left hand. Protruding from the side of the head is the shape of another fish head formed by the headland.

The jug feature is shaped as a wine sack formed by the section of the red cloak below the woman’s right arm, it’s open spout held in her right hand. A jug handle shaped from the cloak’s collar.

The Pisa connection to the Birth of Venus painting extends beyond the Four Cardinal Virtues that form part of the Cathedral’s pulpit, and the short time Botticelli spent working in the city. More on this in a future post.

When stones cry out

The Gallery of Cornelis van der Geest, Rubenshuis, Antwerp

This magnificent image is by the Flemish artist Willem van Haecht (1593 – 1637). Painted in 1628, it is known as The Gallery of Cornelis van der Geest

Van Haecht spent the last decade of his short life as the curator of Van der Geest’s art collection. The gallery shows 43 paintings (among other treasures) of which 24 are known and identified today.

One painting that doesn’t appear to be attributed to any artist is a depiction of St Peter, located in the top row where the two walls meet. The reason for this is that there isn’t an original, lost or undiscovered, other than this image itself, and so most likely by Van Haecht’s own hand.

Detail of St Peter, The Gallery of Cornelis van der Geest, Rubenshuis, Antwerp

Peter was the disciple on which Jesus said he would build his Church. His portrait is placed as a heavenly cornerstone, a rock of faith, on which the Church stands, and as a witness to the death, resurrection and ascension of Jesus. The painting is of Peter being raised by angels and experiencing his own joyous entry into heaven. .

Before becoming curator to Van der Geest’s art collection in 1628, Van Haecht spent seven years in Italy. It is this connection which reveals a major narrative disguised in the Gallery painting that links to Botticelli’s paintings of the Birth of Venus and Primavera.

I intend to explain more on this in future posts after I have completed my presentations on the Birth of Venus and Primavera, but in the meantime, notice the angel supporting or buttressing the ’Leaning Tower of Peter’ (see previous post).

Leaning towards Pisa

In his book, Botticelli, Life and Work, the late art historian Ronald Lightbown records the short period the artist spent working in Pisa, some 50 miles west of Florence. 

Commissioned by the Opera del Duomo in January 1474, Botticelli first began to fresco a test piece depicting the Assumption of the Virgin in the cathedral’s Incoronata Chapel, starting in July of the same year. According to the Italian painter and historian, Giorgio Vasari, Botticelli was dissatisfied with the work and left it unfinished, seemingly some three moths after starting.

However, Botticelli’s experience in Pisa was not wasted and his months spent in the coastal town later proved to be a rich source of inspiration for his painting of the Birth of Venus.

The leaning Venus not only connects to the leaning Ecclesia drawing Botticelli utilised from the Portfolio of Villard de Honnecourt, but also to the famous and still standing leaning Tower of Pisa.

Furthermore, a sculpture representing Ecclesia and another figure associated with the naked Venus Pudica, form part of the early 14th century pulpit located in Pisa Cathedral. The complex design and its decoration was sculpted by Giovanni Pisano.

The figure of Eccelasia, or Mother Church, is one one of the support columns for the pulpit. She stands on a pedestal and is depicted wearing a crown and suckling two infants. At her right shoulder are two eagles. Surrounding the pedestal are four figures presented as the Cardinal Virtues, one of which is the naked Venus Pudica representing the Virtue of Prudence. The other Virtues are Justice, Fortitude and Temperance.

While the Venus Pudica corresponds with Botticelli’s Venus, the three remaining Virtues can also be identified in the painting.

It’s important to know that the Four Cardinal Virtues on Pisano’s pulpit are arranged in pairs, side by side and back to back, similar in a way that Villard’s drawing of the mountain bear and swan backs on to the image of Ecclesia. Fortitude and Prudence are paired standing side by side, as are Justice and Temperance. However, Prudence stands back to back with Justice, while Fortitude backs onto Temperance.

Left to right: Fortitude and Prudence; Justice and Temperance.

In his painting, Botticelli portrayed the woman holding up the mantle as Fortitude. The model is Lucrezia Donati, the same woman Botticelli featured in his famous painting of Fortitude in 1470, one of seven panels representing Virtues designated to decorate the Tribunal Hall of Palazzo della Signoria in Florence.

In a previous post – Fallen angels – I explained that the source for the winged figures left of Venus in Botticelli’s painting was Villard’s drawing representing Pride. Botticelli was also inspired by the same sketch in another novel way. He turned the page over, rotated it 90 degrees, and utilised the “see-through” image to form the upper half of the figure of Fortitude, echoing the back-to back formation of the paired Virtues on Pisano’s pulpit.

Botticelli also picked up on the double-eagle motif at Ecclesia’s right shoulder, which explains why Eagle wings are attached to the two “fallen angels” placed at the right shoulder of the leaning Venus (Mater Ecclesia, Mother of the Church). The bird seemingly speaking into the ear of Ecclesia can also be visualised as a dove representing the Holy Spirit, guiding the Church on its missionary journey.

But Botticelli invites the viewer to see through what appears at surface level and to consider the presentation from another viewpoint or perspective, to turn the page, so to speak, for it is said there are two sides to every story.

And so it is with the Four Cardinal Virtues shown on Pisano’s pulpit sculpture – a compact presentation of biblical events and moral standards ‘written’ in stone by a master craftsman.

To encounter face to face the pairing of Fortitude and Temperance sculpted from a single piece of stone requires the observer to change their viewpoint, as it does with the back-to-back formation of Justice and Fortitude. But the pairing of Fortitude and Prudence can be viewed together face-on. Likewise the pairing of Justice and Temperance.

Botticelli refers to this arrangement in his painting. Already mentioned is the figure of Fortitude. Prudence, in the form of Venus Pudica is placed to her left. The arrangement is contrapposto (opposite) to Pisano’s.

The back-up Virtue to the figure of Venus Pudica is Justice, so therefore Temperance is the Virtue hidden behind or within Fortitude. Both Justice and Temperance can be recognised by one or more of their symbolic attributes.

Justice is usually shown with a balance and scales, sometimes with a sword as well. So the reference to the falcon head and its sickle-shaped beak explained in my previous post represents the sword associated with Justice. As for the balance and scales, these are reflected in the oversized scallop shell. It is not on an even keel and dips to one side, the scale or degree of which is measured by the number of the shell’s ribs either side of Venus.

My next post will deal with the Virtue of Temperance and how it connects with Villard de Honnecourt’s drawing of the falling man and horse representing Pride.

The Bear and the Bird

In my previous post – When opposites attract –  I revealed a source of inspiration for Botticelli’s depiction of the leaning Venus, an image representing Ecclesia featured in a 13th century portfolio of drawings by Villard de Honnecourt. I presented some visual evidence towards confirming this, but there is more.

Behind the figure of Ecclesia are two faint “see-through” or “ghost” images of a bear and a swan sketched on the reverse side of the sheet of paper. Botticelli made reference to these in the Birth of Venus painting, albeit changing them into new forms and linking to more than one embedded narrative.

The swan, for instance, with its pronounced curvature of the neck, becomes the head of a falcon, also noted for the curvature of it claws, beak, and even its wings. Its name derives from Latin falx, which describes a curved blade or sickle, similar in shape to the swan’s curved neck. 

In Hesiod’s version of the birth of Venus the Titan Cronus severed the genitals of his father Uranus with a sickle and threw them into the sea, out of which Venus rose from the foam as a fully grown woman.

The shape of the falcon’s head and its sickle-shaped beak is formed from the hair of Venus shown in her left hand and covering her genitalia. The feature also links to another narrative in that the falcon represents a figurehead placed on the prow (in front) of a galley, more of which I shall explain in a future post.

The bear drawing can also be linked to other narratives, at least three. The most prominent is the jagged coastline to the right of Venus. The four points represent the four claws of a bear’s foot. They also draw attention to the sickle shape of the collar of the red mantle about to cover Venus. Having been blown in from the sea, the statuesque Venus is not quite the finished article. For that the stone requires to be dressed.

The Birth of Venus, Sandro Botticelli, Uffizi, Florence

The transparency of the sheet of paper used by Villard to execute his sketches is another feature which likely inspired Botticelli to portray the Three Graces in diaphanous dresses for his Primavera painting. The grouping of the Three Graces, or Virtues, was an artistic tradition of portraying a woman from three perspectives, front, back and side. So in the Birth of Venus Botticelli echoed this tradition by incorporating references to the drawings on both sides of the paper. As for any side view, the painting requires to be turned sideways to discover other narratives. Botticelli used a similar method with the Three Graces in Primavera. The edges or sides of the women’s shifts are shaped to provide clues and links to uncover more threads and themes.

Primavera, Sandro Botticelli, Uffizi Gallery, Florence

When opposites attract

This is another drawing sourced from the Portfolio of Villard de Honnecourt and the inspiration for Botticelli’s famous leaning figure of Venus in his painting titled the Birth of Venus.

Ecclesia from The Portfolio of Villard de Honnecourt, Bibliothèque Nationale de France, MS Fr 19093

The drawing represents Ecclesia, meaning “Church”, that is the Catholic Church of Botticelli’s time. Venus stands in a contrapposto pose, a sculptural scheme in which the standing human figure is poised so that the weight rests on one leg and the other is bent at the knee. Contrapposto is an Italian word meaning “opposite”. 

Villard’s Ecclesia is opposite in many ways to Botticelli’s version. She is fully dressed, and crowned. Her upper body leans to the left and from the waist down she is upright. Venus stands naked. Her stance is opposite; upright above the waist while her legs lean to the right. For sure, both representations appear to be off balance.

Venus’s attempt to cover herself is akin to the shame felt by Eve and her need for protection after succumbing to the serpent’s temptation and losing her innocence in the Garden of Eden – in biblical terms described as The Fall. So to make the connection with Ecclesia, Venus now represents the New Eve, Mary, Mother of the Church. From this it could be said that Botticelli was making a point about the failings within the Catholic Church at the time, echoing the words of spoken to Francis of Assisi in the church of San Damiano by Christ on his cross: “Francis, rebuild my Church which is danger of falling down.” 

Protection and support for the leaning Venus comes in the shape of one of the Horae or Hours, goddesses of the seasons in Greek Mythology. She approaches the shoreline (flying?) with a mantle of protection.Hher stance, with legs and feet apart, forms a buttress ready to prop up the tilting Venus.

The Birth of Venus, Sandro Botticelli, Uffizi, Florence

The buttress symbol is mirrored opposite by the two winged and conjoined figures and is also a feature prevalent in Botticelli’s Primavera painting. The winged figures can be considered as referring to a flying buttress, a building feature of support once banned by authorities in Florence during Botticelli’s time. The “flying buttress” is another drawing (right) that appears in The Portfolio of Villard de Honnecourt.

The are some subtle features of Villard’s Ecclesia that offer evidence or even confirmation his drawing was a source of inspiration for Botticelli’s Venus. Compare these ‘opposites’: the blowing, trailing banner with the windswept hair of Venus (flying buttresses!); the badly drawn facial features of Ecclesia with those of Venus modelled on Simonetta Vespucci who was reputed to be the most beautiful woman in Florence during Botticelli’s time. Simonetta was a young woman the artist was said to be most enamoured with and who he portrayed in several of his paintings.

Venus is also modelled on the Greco-Roman style of sculpture referred to as Venus Pudica (chaste or modest). I shall explain in a future post the reason why Botticelli also makes this connection and the source he borrowed from.