Wednesday, February 22, 2017

Venus and Mars by Sandro Botticelli

Dating from 1483 this wide canvas reveals and intimate scene between the Roman deities Venus and Mars as an allegory of beauty and valour.

The youthful and voluptuous couple reclines in a forest setting, surrounding by playful satyrs. The painting is typically regarded as a depiction of the ideal of sensuous pleasure and play.

The painting may appear provocative, if intended to celebrate a wedding, as the male partner Mars, is lost in sleep, while Venus, the gentle and beautiful bride, is waiting for the promised love, perplexed.

Images of Mars conquered by Venus further reveal how, when sleep, make nudity and sexual vulnerability were combined pictorially, the results might be uncomfortable.

Although the defeat of Mars represents the pacifying effects of love, the theme can slip dangerously close to parody, making the man weakened by love into an object of amusement.

Both recline, both are nude. Although only Mars sleeps, Venus appears equally dazed by the effects of love. The picture, complex and intriguing, was probably commissioned in the occasion of the marriage of a member of the Vespuccis, Botticelli’s patron family.
Venus and Mars by Sandro Botticelli
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