1482-1483, National Gallery, London
Picture size 69 x 173.5 cm, tempera on wood.
Italian art of the 15th century, Renaissance
Painting by Sandro Botticelli's "Venus and Mars". Composition has elongated horizontal shape like a painted lid of wedding chest – cassone or panels, which put in furniture; in this case, it can be a bed of newly married, since the painting pictured for the wedding of someone from Vespucci’s family. The program of work made by the humanist, it based on astrological interpretation of myths, characteristic for Neo-Platonists, according to it, planets acted in moralizing aspect: gentle and tender Venus dominates over aggressive Mars, softening its ferocity. This picture of the artist intended for wedding, and served some kind of courtly compliment to young wife of Vespucci.
In compositional scheme of “Venus and Mars”, Sandro Botticelli used a bas-relief from the same ancient sarcophagus, which served as a model for Centaur’s head in the picture “Athena Pallas and the Centaur.” The artist interpreted it into the language of unshaded painting with rhythm of outlines, surprisingly graceful in their repetitions and intersections. Color, in the painting by Sandro Botticelli, differs in elegant restraint. The central scene, which was based on a balance of peace and strength, surrounded by antic young satyrs. Muted tones sounds to it as quiet accompaniment. In the picture, it can be seen and allegory (Venus Humanitas): Venus (humanistic thought) has a beneficial effect on dissension and unrestrained elements, taming the rough nature (Mars). In addition, in accordance with the humanistic views, from the union of Venus and Mars - love and struggle – was born Harmony.
Submitted by: Nikki
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