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.

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