Monday, May 14, 2007

Venus Anadyomene

Venus Anadyomene, the Muse of love and beauty. This is my meager rendition of her face after The Birth of Venus painting by Sandro Botticelli that hangs in the Uffizi Gallery, Florence. Art History is fascinating. If you are an artist who knows little of the history of art, you may never achieve the success you are seeking with your art. Let's take a quick stroll through the history of the works known as Venus Anadyomene.

Venus Anadyomene has been painted frequently throughout history. Masters and lesser-known artists have tried to capture her beauty. "Venus Rising From the Sea" is the iconic representation of Aphrodite made famous in a painting by Apelles. The painting was described by Pliny the Elder in Pliny's Natural History. The image represents the birth of the Goddess of Love as she emerges from the sea. According to Greek mythology, Aphrodite, born an adult, was the first born of the sea who perpetually wrings out her hair. Sadly this work no longer exists.

Many Renaissance artists, after reading Pliny, tried to recreate or outdo Apelles. Besides Botticelli, other early Venus Anadyomene's are a bas-relief by Antonio Lombardo and Titian's Venus Anadyomene, c. 1525. In the 19th and 20th centuries Venus Anadyomene became a natural subject for fountains: Venus and Cupid the National Gallery of Art, Washington DC is a life-size bronze plumbed so that water drips from Venus' hair. Rococo sculptures of the subject were modestly draped across the hips, but bolder nudes appealed to male nineteenth-century patrons: Théodore Chassériau executed the subject in 1835 and Jean-Auguste-Dominique Ingres' Venus Anadyomene, completed in 1848, is one of the painter's most celebrated works (Musée Condé, Chantilly, France).

The painting 'Naissance de Venus' (The Birth of Venus), by Alexandre Cabanel, 1863 (Musée d'Orsay, Paris) was shown at the Paris Salon in 1863 and was bought by Napoleon III for his own personal collection.

The Birth of Venus, by William-Adolphe Bouguereau, 1879 (Musée d'Orsay, Paris) reimagines Botticelli's composition and is another testament to the theme's continuing popularity among the academic painters of the late nineteenth century.

Pablo Picasso recast the image of Venus Anadyomene in the central figure of his seminal painting Les Demoiselles d'Avignon (1907), a modernist deconstruction of the icon, and one of the incunabula of Cubism.

Today's aMUSEment - What do you know about art history? Visit some of the above links for a quick art history lesson. Buy a used copy of 'The History of Art' and begin teaching yourself or begin a walk through Wikipedia's History of Art section now.
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1 comment:

Judy said...

Hi, Gosh I adore the blue hues in your painting. Thanks for the comment on my blog, it is most appreciated. MdM said you were just lovely, he arrives tomorrow.
Thanks again and have a lovely day.

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