Painting by Venus and Mars, Sandro Botticelli

Painting by Venus and Mars, Sandro Botticelli
Painting by Venus and Mars, Sandro Botticelli - 1

  • Posted by Sandro Botticelli
  • Museum: National Gallery (London)
  • Year: Around 1485

Overview of the painting :

Venus and Mars – Sandro Botticelli. Around 1485. Wood, tempera. 69.2×173.4

   Botticelli (1445-1510) (Flessandro di Mariano Filipepi, nicknamed Sandro) is a great Italian artist of the Renaissance Florentine school.

   In the picture presented by Venus, the ancient goddess of love, is depicted in a semi-lung position, with his right hand resting on the pillow. She carefully looks at the god of war lying opposite her. The scene takes place in a world grotto (myrt is a plant of Venus).

   Mars is immersed in a deep sleep, which cannot be interrupted by the faunas playing around, the most cheerful characters of the canvas, depicted according to the ancient tradition by horned, goat-legged and tucked. They have fun with the weapons of God: one blows to the sink of Mars right in the ear, the other slammed a huge helmet on his head, the third, crawling out from under the arm of God, adapted his breast shell. In a word, Mars is disarmed.

   Obviously, the picture has an allegorical meaning, like everything related to ancient mythology. Her main idea is love conquers war or love conquers everything. This general concept goes back to the ideas of the Italian humanist Marceillo Ficino, who, in particular, claimed that Mars stands out between the planets, because it makes people stronger, but Venus dominates it. Often in connection with Mars or in opposing it, it does not allow to show unkind properties and humbles it. Mars never dominates Venus.

   In addition to the main idea, much in the work can be explained in a symbolic manner. For example, a swarm of wasps curls around Mars (nothing is said about them in the myth). The fact is that the picture was commissioned by one of the members of the Vespuci family, and the wasps reflected the play of words: “Vespuchi” – “Vespa” (from the Italian “vespa” – “osa”).