Friday, September 17, 2010

Botticelli: Graces Redux

One shouldn't leave the topic of the Three Graces in painting without a nod to Botticelli, the Renaissance painter whose Birth of Venus and Primavera poetically capture the essence of the age.

Botticelli, Primavera, 1482, tempera on panel, Uffizi Gallery, Florence, Italy.

Renaissance painters reintroduced accurate perspective to pictorial art (the ancient Greeks were close to perfecting it, but the collapse of the classical world at the fall of Rome, c. 460 AD., buried the knowledge for more than 1,000 years). Italian painters rediscovering Graeco-Roman antiquity were all about celebrating the human, rather than the supernatural, divine, and this included the science of how the world looks to the eye.

Botticelli, Birth of Venus, 1485, tempera on panel, Uffizi Gallery, Florence, Italy.

Botticelli's work has all the humanism without the obtrusive science. By keeping the essence of the representation of real space but rejecting the technical display of scientific perspective, Botticelli expressed his sense of the beautiful through an emphasis on proportion and a flowing use of line.

Other painters courted the astonishing effects possible with the new medium of oil paint, created novel effects of perspective, or incorporated new anatomical knowledge of the human body and other scientific discoveries in ever-more believable and fully developed three-dimensional forms.
The "Capitoline Venus" from
the Medici family collection
that served as the model for
Botticelli's Venus

Botticelli's forms are more classical and elegant than "accurate" or "scientific" (but what's "accurate" for the representation of a goddess?!), and his colors are lovely but quite subdued. Botticelli worked poetic magic through line, reinforced by strong contrasting values of light and dark.

The Birth of Venus motif (Aphrodite on the Half Shell - in mythology she was born of the ocean foam and wafted to shore on a shell) allows us to revisit Odilon Redon as well, whose strange and sensuous pastel of 1912 is reproduced below.

Comparing Redon's flush of iridescent pink and Botticelli's far more chaste color handling as well as a visual pairing on Tarot Teachings of the design by Pamela Smith for one of the cards in the Rider-Waite tarot deck makes the beautiful linearity of Botticelli's presentation very clear.

Botticelli's graces are about spring, new beginnings, regeneration, rebirth, and the continuity of the best the human spirit has to offer with the most inspiring achievements of the past. How appropriate then the meaning of the card: friends, prosperity, happiness and the enjoyment of life, be linked to a place and time in history when a new sense of humanity's potential emerged in the world like a sudden revelation - generating some of the greatest and most beautiful artwork the world has seen, before or since.


  1. As one of the a lot of cartier replica accomplished and high-status alarm manufacturers all over the world, Omega is accustomed a allotment of the people. Because of its different architecture and exceptional quality, these watches of rolex replica this cast name are all put up for auction at acutely top prices which go abroad from the ability of the accustomed earning people. Omega Replica watches are decidedly fabricated to accommodated the requirements of individuals' and humans who accept a admiration to acquaintance the replica watches affluence of the absolute Omega wristwatches but afterwards acceptable banknote to pay for one. These replications facilitate accessible to get aggregate what they ahead from the accurate pieces at a absolute beneath costs. They are the accurate copies of the absolute timepieces with the absolute data cent per cent imitated. Seen by the breitling replica antecedent sight, one is not able to accomplish out the distinction. Although not genuine, they are fabricated from accomplished superior equipments like absolute gold and beauteous precious stones which as a final point accord way to artistic and abundant omega replica watches. The latest replica watch archetypal of this accurate watch comes with a Miyota automated movement (Japanese Cast 2 Rolex replica watch). The stainless animate replica watch has a white face with a abounding action chronograph, night beam and a azure clear glass. Replica watches could never alter the originals. To accomplish one's ego and the "status symbol" needs, this archetypal could go a forth way. If you could set abreast the activity of answerability that may appear out of replica watches uk diplomacy a replica watch, aback it would aftereffect in losses to the aboriginal manufacturer, put it abreast as the amount of success and ahead about what you could save authoritative this decision.