the birth of venus botticelli analysis
Bacchus and Ariadne (1520-23) National Gallery, London.
Painterly Methods: Gothic Meets Renaissance
Of obvious importance in this painting is the nudity of Venus. The depiction of nude women was not something that was normally done in the Middle Ages, with a few exceptions in specific circumstances. For the modeling of this figure, Botticelli turned to an Aphrodite statue, such as the Aphrodite of Cnidos, in which the goddess attempts to cover herself in a gesture of modestly.
On shore, a figure who has been identified as Pomona, or as the goddess of Spring, waits for Venus with mantle in hand. The mantle billows in the wind from Zephyrus’ mouth.
Known as the “Birth of Venus”, the composition actually shows the goddess of love and beauty arriving on land, on the island of Cyprus, born of the sea spray and blown there by the winds, Zephyr and, perhaps, Aura. The goddess is standing on a giant scallop shell, as pure and as perfect as a pearl. She is met by a young woman, who is sometimes identified as one of the Graces or as the Hora of spring, and who holds out a cloak covered in flowers. Even the roses, blown in by the wind are a reminder of spring. The subject of the painting, which celebrates Venus as symbol of love and beauty, was perhaps suggested by the poet Agnolo Poliziano.
Unlike the “Allegory of Spring”, which is painted on wood, the “Birth of Venus” was painted on canvas, a support that was widely used throughout the 15th century for decorative works destined to noble houses.
Botticelli The Birth of Venus is one of the most famous paintings of all time. One that never ceases to capture our imaginations. Here we take a closer look at this masterpiece and some of the fascinating stories that surround it.
“Birth of Venus” by Botticelli
The subject is not strictly the “Birth of Venus”, a title given to the painting only in the nineteenth century (though given as the subject by Vasari), but the next scene in her story, where she arrives on land, blown by the wind. The land probably represents either Cythera or Cyprus, both Mediterranean islands regarded by the Greeks as territories of Venus. 
Venus’ body is anatomically improbable, with elongated neck and torso. Her pose is impossible: although she stands in a classical contrapposto stance, her weight is shifted too far over the left leg for the pose to be held. The proportions and poses of the winds to the left do not quite make sense, and none of the figures cast shadows.  The painting depicts the world of the imagination rather than being very concerned with realistic depiction.