According to princeton.edu, one of the most legendary, and influential, paintings of all time remains The Birth of Venus by Sandro Botticelli. The painting was an original commissioned to Botticelli from the mighty de Medici family of Florence, Italy. The work shows the goddess, Venus, emerging from the ocean fully grown. She arrives on a large shell as a woman. The painting was completed in 1486.
The Goddess of Love was one who was critical to both the world of humans and the realm of the gods. She emboldened the gods toward intellectual and spiritual love while spinning the web of physical awakening to the pleasures of physical love to humans. Most critics and art historians consider the painting to be a representation of divine love taking physical form in the goddess.
The painting seems to be unlike those of other Botticelli’s or like any in the emerging art of the Renaissance. Its seems rather flat, staid, and two dimensional. Some have speculated that it was intentional and reflected the later Charles R. Mack school of thought which understands the painting to be a glorification of the de Medici’s. The great Florentine family dynasty had to rescue the world after the fall of the Roman Empire so the story goes.
Some also speculate that Botticelli had finally completed the restoration of an ancient and lost masterpiece by the legendary Apelles entitled Venus Rising From the Sea. Perhaps Botticelli’s stiffness was meant to reflect a style found on vases in ancient Greece or on the walls of ancient Greek tombs. The original by Apelles was taken by the Roman Emperor Augustus and hung in a temple dedicated to the founder of Florence – Julius Ceasar.