.. is concept really came into play during the third century of Rome. It is partly based on the Greek mythological logic and religion with many newer Christian aspects added upon it. This is an ever-changing subject with many different sects of views and new ideas forming all the time (3:2).
Botticellis Allegory of Spring was painted in 1480 with tempura on canvas. This pre-Christian piece was one of the largest panel paintings with mythological themes. This painting has been in the Uffizi art museum in Florence, Italy since 1919 and was recently restored in 1982. Botticelli painted this in honor of the marriage of Lorenzo Pierfranceso de Media and Seriramide Appiani. Most likely this painting was inspired by Ovid, Lucretius, and the great Roman poet Horace.
The picture combines the classical Roman pose of antique statues with the more recent gothic ideas. This painting is overwhelmed with character and ancient mythology creating one of the most prized paintings of the great Italian Renaissance. The inspiration for this painting could have come from reading the Latin poets Ovids Fasti, but it is more likely that the inspiration came from Verses for the Joust by Agnolo Poliziano. It was in this, which the writer describes a meadow where grasses and plants grew, where the winds blew and where “Happy Spring was ever present”. This poem refers to the neoplatonic thoughts seen throughout the painting (5:7). This is a very complex and intricate painting with an intensely interesting plot.
This painting is set in Venus divine garden with a flower filled meadow and a shady grove in the background. There are numerous slender trees and many mythological characters in the scene. To the left end of the painting is Mercury, the son of Jupiter and the nymph Maia. Virgils Aeneid could have inspired this young traveler with hat, sword and winged sandals. Mercury, who is the herald of Jove, is portraying the dispersing of winter winds and the renewal of spring.
Just next to Mercury are the three graces dancing in a circle. One touches cupid above as one turns towards Mercury. Notice the linearity of the outlines of one of the graces that creates a feeling of spirituality with their features and shape (2:68). The cupid that is motioned to is Amor, the god of passionate love.
Amor, or Eros to the Greek, is the winged son of Mars and Venus. This can be seen by the bow, which he carries and also the arrows, quiver and blindfold. Just below Amor is the goddess of love and beauty, Venus. Venus extends her hand toward the three graces to modulate their dance.
On the far right is the icy blue god of the west winds, Zephyrus. He embraces Chloris; he is transforming her from nymph into Flora the goddess of spring; Flora is the figure between Chloris and Venus. This painting is Botticellis conception of spring in a reverse pagan concept. One of Botticellis greatest additions to the artwork he created was the amazing symbolism within.
The symbolic meaning to this painting is while spring awakens the world to the beauty, Venus uses love to turn the human heart to truths divine (1:78). This painting is mostly based on the beauty and renewal of life in spring, it also focus on love. Venus, the center point of this painting stirs the flowers to life with her warm winds. Venus is the symbol of spring this is seen by the adornment of flowers by the graces. She, not only a symbol of spring, represents civilization, governing the world and the actions of men.
There are many interpretations of Venus, another idea is the portrayal of spiritual love, with above her, a bandaged Cupid in the process of shooting one of his arrows. Further to the left are the three graces, their fingers entwined, their hair delicately waving and their transparent dresses, they are dancing harmoniously, while Mercury dispels the clouds from the flower filled garden, with his caduceus. This wooden stick with two snakes twisting around it, is a symbol of medicine (3:2). Mercury himself is not merely a handsome youth but a revealer of the truth as he touches the clouds to unveil the mysteries (1:78).
The characters in this piece have a great depiction of the thoughts of Botticelli. The painting itself has many underlying meanings, also. For example, the blossoming gardens represent the metaphor for the fertility of Flora. Chloris and Flora are the same people in this painting though they are portraying the metamorphosis they she is going throw. The graces may symbolize liberty.
These additions to the painting that Botticelli made had a huge influence on the way many people perceive him and his work. This paintings theme is mainly based on the vivid symbols and representations. Botticelli had a true gift of including and understanding all aspect of artwork when creating this piece. In Birth of Venus much of the same symbolism carries over to add interest and a personal touch to his work.
Many of Botticellis successors owe much to this man who paved a wonderful road to the use of symbolism. The symbols, the story line, the style of this artwork all come together to form a harmonious conception that the renewal of spring brings. Botticellis every brush stroke signifies the beauty and mysteriousness of the mythological story depicted in this piece. Botticelli brings to life the peacefulness and abundance of new life to Venus garden.
This painting is truly a highlight of Renaissance culture and art at its peak, with the fluid brush strokes, the statuesque characters and the true meaning of spring brought together. Bibliography 1. Canto, Lillio. The Renaissance, the Invention of Perspective. New York: Chelsea House Publishing, 1994 2.
Korn, Irene. Great Masterpieces of the World. New York: Robert M. Tod, 1997 3. Neoplatonism www.connect.net/ron/neoplatonism.html 4. Setton, Kennith.
The Renaissance, Maker of Modern Man. Washington DC: 1970 5. The Uffizi: The Official Guide. Florence, Italy: Giunti Gruppo Editorial, 1998 6. Zollner, Frank. Botticelli, Images of Love and Spring.
Munich, Germany: Prestel-Verlag, 1998.