Birth of Venus Essay

Birth of Venus Essay.

The work that I have chosen from Chapter 19 is Thomas Cole’s The Oxbow (Connecticut River near Northampton) (1836) on page 462. Principles of Design:

• The focal point of the painting is the sun-drenched valley and river. The emphasis comes from the diagonal of the tree to the left that directs the view of the scene down the valley toward the farmland. • Vertical balance can be seen with the firm horizon line that separates a bleak landscape with a bleaker sky, where most of the visual weight in the composition occurs in the lower half of the painting.

Formal Elements:

• The artist uses lines to outline forms and evoke movement. In this painting, firm lines carve out the figures from the rigid horizontal of the horizon and the verticals of the trees. Straight lines carry the breath of Zephyr from the left and the curved lines of the drapery imply the movement of the Zephyrs and of the nymph to the right. Implied compositional lines give this work an overall triangular structure.

• The artist’s use of warm colors against a calming blue background gives Venus an ethereal quality and makes her stand out. This use of color also creates unity and variety. • In this piece, the light source is not seen. However, the light source is to the right of the artwork because Botticelli uses chiaroscuro, or shading on the left side of Venus’s face which makes it seem like a glow is cast upon her face.


• The painting’s composition presents Venus, born of the foam of the sea, floating to the shores of her sacred island on a large half-shell, aided in its drifting by the sweet breaths of entwined zephyrs amidst a shower of roses. • The nymph Pomona awaits her with an ornate mantle and is herself dressed in a billowing, flowered gown. • The purpose of the painting is to show how Venus came to be.

Time Period:

• This painting is a part of the Renaissance in Italy at Midcentury and beyond. Previous eras had… F. The Birth of Venus was created on canvas with the use of tempera paint. Botticelli would hand grind a material that changes according to the light that it reflects, also known as pigment. The powdered pigments are traditionally mixed with egg yolk which dries quickly and stays firmly in place (Saitzyk, 245). During the Renaissance, fabric such as canvas were used instead of the popular wooden panel. As tempera is a durable paint, canvas is a durable fabric made of flax or cotton. In addition to painting, canvas is used to make items such as sails and tents which require stability and resilience (Saitzyk, 135).

G. Alessandro Filippi‘s, also known as Sandro Botticelli’s, youth remains a historical mystery. A common story is that he was in poor health through his early childhood and then went on to be trained as a goldsmith until his twenties when he began to paint. We do know, however, that Botticelli apprenticed in the workshop of an artist by the name of Filippo Lippi. In 1467, he was left by his master in Florence and apparently joined artistic careers with Verrocchio (Angelis, 3). After returning to his family for a short period of time, as indicated by tax records, Botticelli continued his career with the support of the Medici family, one of the most powerful families in Florence, Italy. He left Florence in 1480 to help decorate the Sistine Chapel in Rome with some of his art which only the most famous painters of that time were invited to do. In 1482, Botticelli returned to Florence and shortly after painted the Birth of Venus (Angelis, 4).


A. Even though I would love to visit and view the Birth of Venus in…
Sandro Botticelli, Birth of Venus.

The Birth of Venus painted by Sandro Botticelli from 1484-1486, depicts the birth of Venus into the world. The painting shows Venus the goddess of love and beauty coming out of the sea as if she was coming into the human world as a beautiful woman. She is nude in the painting covering one of her breasts with her right hand, her left hand holding her long blonde hair, which covers her pubic region. The nudity of Venus in this painting shows not the humility of the naked body but the exotericism of the female body. There are three other figures in the painting, two intertwined figures on the left side and a woman on the right standing on the shoreline.

The woman on the shoreline is someone who is devoted to the goddess ready for her rebirth with a beautiful robe. The figures on the left are winged figures female and male their hair being blown back showing a sense of movement. They are blowing wind out of their mouths bringing a breeze to Venus that will move her from her shell to shores of land showing her birth into the human world. The female figure has her legs wrapped around the male figure in a way that seems almost impossible in real life.

Botticelli uses very linear lines in the birth of Venus all of the figures are on same plan going from one end to the other giving the painting a very linear feel. The lines of figures show movement in a very graceful way. He keeps the foreground, middle ground, and background in the same focal plane giving the painting a very deep depth of field. The colors that Botticelli uses are very warm and the colors are moderately saturated giving the colors a realistic value. There is a clear horizon line and coastline that doesn’t seem to fit very well as if it was just placed there to symbolize a coastline. Botticellis use of lines in his figures and details give a very clear description of what they are creating.

Birth of Venus Essay