Friday, May 16, 2014

Arty Farty Friday ~ Venus With Her Clothes On

Before we move on from astrological Venus-ruled Taurus to Mercury-ruled Gemini, I fancied a look at some depictions of mythical Venus. Most people are very familiar with the armless Venus de Milo sculpture, and Botticelli's famous painting (right) of her "Birth", naked of course. In most famous paintings she's depicted "in the raw", the artists were probably celebrating the beauty of the classic female form. The same classic female form these days, in the USA, would amazingly be categorised as
"Plus-size". A clothes-horse, as required by today's fashion houses, has to be just one or two degrees away from anorexic.

I decided to try to find some depictions of Venus clothed.

By the by, images of Venus sometimes show her holding a golden apple in one hand. Venus won the golden apple from Paris, the story is HERE.

Please click on an image to see a larger version.

Venus et Un Marin - Venus and a Sailor by Salvador Dali (1925) (homage to Salvat-Papasseit, Catalan poet). There are three Dali paintings with this title - I like this one the best, others can be seen by typing the title into Google Image search box.

Venus and Sailor (Homage to Salvat-Papasseit), 1925, is dedicated to the poet who died in 1924.
This is the Papasseit who, in his first book, made perfectly clear the fascination he felt for Marinetti, the Italian futurists and, even more so, for Apollinaire (two other poets). (See HERE.)
Marin - sailor - is, perhaps, a reference to Marinetti; but why Apollo would translate to Venus I cannot fathom. But then...Dali was a law unto himself!

La Primavera by Sandro Botticelli

La Primavera (or the Allegory of Spring) is full of allegorical meanings, whose interpretation is difficult and still uncertain. Among the many theories proposed over the last decades, the one that seems to be the most corroborated is the interpretation of the painting as the realm of Venus, sung by the ancient poets and by Poliziano (famous scholar at the court of the Medici). On the right Zephyrus (the blue faced young man) chases Flora and fecundates her with a breath. Flora turns into Spring, the elegant woman scattering her flowers over the world. Venus, in the middle, represents the “Humanitas” (the benevolence), which protects men. On the left the three Graces dance and Mercury dissipates the clouds. (See HERE)

Schifanoia Triumph of Venus

The Triumph of Venus (1467-70) is also April from the Hall of the Months, by Francesco del Cossa, and is in the Palazzo Schifanoia, Ferrara, Explanation HERE

Venus and Anchises by Sir William Blake Richmond (1842 - 1921)

The meeting at night, of Venus and her earthly lover, the Trojan shepherd Anchises, on Mount Ida. Venus, clothed in glowing pink and gold walks towards Anchises, who awaits her holding a lyre. Anchises, clad in a red shirt, appears to cower in the shadow of a tree. The usual penalty for mortals such as he for looking at a god or goddess was to be turned into stone.

The picture is not a simple illustration of a mythical event, but demonstrates the transforming power of love. Night has turned into day. In the bottom right of the picture there are the dead leaves of autumn, but wherever Venus walks she becomes surrounded by spring flowers and apple blossom. She is accompanied by lions and a flight of doves which disperse a group of sparrows. Although the event depicted is rooted in ancient Greek mythology, Richmond chooses to show the dramatic awakening of a northern landscape in an English spring. The offspring of the union between Venus and Anchises was Aeneas, the legendary ancestor of the Romans.

(See HERE)

Astarte Syriaca, originally entitled Venus Astarte (1875-7), by Dante Gabriel Rossetti.

Rossetti composed the painting on a six- foot canvas, so that it was long enough for a full-length portrait. The model was Jane Morris, muse of several of the Pre-Raphaelites, and wife of William Morris (my post on Wm. Morris is here).

The painting drew criticism when it was displayed, due to its erotic content. Victorian audiences were shocked by its overt sensuality. Venus' hands are positioned to draw attention to her fertility (use your imagination!), and are identical to the hand position of Botticelli's Venus. Furthermore, as Rossetti's poem (see link) indicates, her girdle also highlights her voluptuousness ("her twofold girdle clasps the infinite boon of bliss whereof the heaven and earth commune"). The girdle also functions in much the same way as the hair of Venus in Botticelli's version, but is a bit more subtle. (See HERE)
See also here.

The Mirror of Venus by Sir Edward Burne-Jones.

"The scene is purely imaginary, and shows Venus and her maidens gazing at their reflections in a pool of water. The landscape is arid and rocky; these strangely lunar landscapes were to become a recurring feature of his art, widely imitated by his followers. The mood and the colour are Pre-Raphaelite, but the conscious sweetness and elegance of the figures recall the Italian Renaissance, and, in particular, Botticelli, an artist greatly admired by Burne-Jones, and later to become a cult among fashionable aesthetes. The conception is purely aesthetic — a ring of beautiful girls in lovely draperies, with a minimum of narrative of historical content. The draperies are pseudo-classical, and the title is Venus, but the picture could equally have been given a vague allegorical title. Through the faces of the girls and their wistful expressions Burne-Jones conveys that feeling of intense sadness and nostalgia for the past that pervades so many late Pre-Raphaelite pictures"
(See HERE)

Laus Veneris by Sir Edward Burne-Jones.

Swinburne's poem Laus Veneris and Edward Burne-Jones's subsequent painting of the same title were created within 4 years of each other, the poem in 1866 and the painting between 1873 and 1878.

Swinburne's Laus Veneris = "the praise of Venus or love," is based on the theme of Tannhauser. In the legend, the young knight Tannhauser falls in love with Venus and lives with her in her subterranean home until he becomes filled with remorse. He escapes her snares and travels to Rome to ask Pope Urban if he could be absolved of his sins.


I like this modern depiction of Venus:

Venus in silver on sale HERE


mike said...

Those Victorians were's hard to believe that Rossetti's Venus was denounced for eroticism, considering the other Venuses prior to his. In the eyes of the beholder.

This topic could slide into your Musical Monday post...LOL.

Shocking Blue's "Venus"

Frankie Avalon's "Venus"

Jimmy Clanton's "Venus in Bluejeans"

Velvet Underground's "Venus in Furs"

Twilight said...

mike ~ The Victorians - yes, ridiculously prude. Some would even cover the legs of their furniture!

That would've been a very good idea for Music Monday, mike! I hadn't thought of it. I especially like the idea of Venus in Blue Jeans!
I'll borrow the idea for another time .....sometime during Sun in Libra if I can hold it in memory that long. :-)

♥ Sonny ♥ said...

loved the photos. Now I have F. Avalon's song playing in my head- all Mike's fault lol.

I think I hit in the middle between Venus and Twiggy..
I'm happy with that:)

Twilight said...

Sonny ~ Those old songs tended to make deep grooves in our memories didn't they? :-)

Twiggy is looking less like a twig these days, which isn't surprising, and probably a whole lot healthier.

R J Adams said...

Hmmmm! I preferred her with her clothes off. But then, I'm a man!

Twilight said...

RJ Adams ~ Yeah yeah yeah....! ;-)