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Aphrodite vs. Birth of Venus

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Aphrodite vs. Birth of Venus

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Aphrodite vs. Birth of Venus
Throughout the history of art the human form has captured artisans and their audiences. While the human form has always been acceptable in art, the nude female form continues to stir up controversy. Praxiteles was a famous artist during the Greek late classical period who sculpted and created controversy on the island of Knidos when he made Aphrodite of Knidos (350-340 B.C.). This new idea of a nude goddess made the island famous, putting it on the map as a tourist attraction. Approximately a 1,100 years later Sandro Botticelli took the idea of the nude goddess and depicted the same image in his painting The Birth of Venus (1482). This portrait was painted during the Early Italian Renaissance right after Girolamo Savonarola had placed strict boundaries and improvement for society. Despite there being tremendous beauty in both pieces, there are also distinct characteristics and features that make each work of art stand out.

At first glance there are many similarities between Aphrodite of Knidos and The Birth of Venus. The two figures have much in common; most obviously they are both female representations and both are quite nude. Many culture’s artists either did not have the talent to carve a complete three dimensional sculpture or were just fond of only frontal and peripheral views as sculptors from the Old Kingdom of Egypt gave us the slate statue of Menkhaure and Khamerenbty, a sculpture whose physical back is solely a flat rock surface. Our two pieces under study, in contrast, are fully three dimensional, sculptures in the round, are meant to be admired equally from any angle in which a viewer pleases: Front, back, side, looking down on it, or any other angle. Each piece has a carefully crafted head of hair (or possibly headdress in the case of

the Venus of Willendorf) probably to the latest style of their respective culture. They have both endured the wrath of nature and the clumsiness of...

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