Botticelli and Warhol’s Art Works of Venus
Sandro Botticelli created the beautiful, captivating, and norm breaking Birth of Venus. It depicts the story of the goddess Venus, having emerged from the sea as a full grown woman arriving at the shore. Painted in 1486, and with the medium of tempera on canvas, The Birth of Venus hangs in the Uffizi gallery in Florence Italy. This renaissance painting is huge and is 67.9 inches tall by 109.6 inches wide. Andy Warhol’s screen print Venus was done is 1984 and has been mass produced all over the country. There are many critiques and analysis for both of these pieces. Also there is a large amount of comparisons between the two, because they are both of the same goddess. There is a lot of historical background pertaining to Botticelli’s masterpiece because of the era in which it was created: The Renaissance. Sandro Botticelli’s The Birth of Venus is his most famous painting, and was once hung in the Medici Villa. In the composition Venus is in the middle drifting towards the sea shore. Venus is nude and at this time in the Renaissance nudity was not common, so is mythological image was risky. To the right of Venus a woman is waiting to clothe Venus, but she is floating away from the woman in her sea shell boat. To her left the god Zephyr and Flora are there to witness her arrival. The use of perspective in this painting is realistic because there is a vanishing point where the sky meets the water. The background is full of natural blues, and the white caps of the ripples in the water lead the viewer’s eyes toward the front of the piece. Shadow and light is used to make curves on the figures rather than outline, which were also becoming new in this period. All of the bodies seem to be very spiritualistic because of how they almost float above the ground. Sandro made the feet of the figures with flexed or almost pointed toes. This adds a really graceful flying look to the people. Also The placement of Zephyr and Flora is cornered so the look as if they are flying into the image. Also the way the clothing seems like it is blowing around the people gives movement to the picture. The subject matter here is a nude woman which is different from the Neo-Platonic rules of society. Mythological scenes in the Renaissance show how the people became more interested in not just religious subject matter, but more of a worldly view on art. In the second half of the fifteenth century portraits of everyday people such as average women, fellow artists and even peasants were more popular and in demand. People of this period became much more aware of themselves, and not just what religion based ideas said. Pop Art is seen as a trend now, because it’s printed on clothing, posters, magazines, bags, and even shoes. In pop art the medium is as important as the message, unlike in renaissance art. Religious paintings were the most common subject in the renaissance period. But The Birth of Venus could be considered pop art of the Renaissance because it was a nude woman and not a religion based fresco style piece. Pop art is supposed to relate to the current times, and when Botticelli painted his masterpiece, people were starting to get worldlier. Andy Warhol was an American painter, print maker, and filmmaker who were one of the best pop artists in history. He has many famous pieces such as his Marilyn Monroe, Eight Elvis’s, Banana, and of course Venus. Eight Elvis’s was sold for 100 million dollars in 1963. He used a technique called screen printing. Screen printing is a technique that uses woven mesh to support an ink blocking stencil. The stencil forms an open area of mesh that can transfer ink or other printable materials which can be pressed through the mesh as a sharp edged image onto a substrate. Then a roller is used to cover the screen stencil and the ink is applied over the woven parts, creating the negative space. This process has become very common today with clothing, fabrics, accessories...
Cited: Penelope J.E.Davies, Walter B. Denny, Frima Fox Horfrichter, Joseph Jacobs, Ann M. Roberts and David L. Simon. Janson’s History of Art, 7th edition Upper Saddle River NJ, in 2007 by Pearson. Birth of Venus page 539.
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