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Botticelli and The Birth of Venus

Botticelli and The Birth of Venus

Probably the most most elusive painting of Botticelli is the Birth of Venus (Figure 8). In this painting, Venus is just born from the genitals of Uranus and the sea.[1] Though Venus is full nude here she is in her full modesty. The red roses and the giant open shell is a symbol of Venus. The spring goddess is waiting to the shore to dress the nude Venus. The orange trees like Primavera behind them but fruitless, meaning Venus is still immature and not ready to take part in the world.


Both of the paintings are not only symbols of aesthetic beauty By Botticelli but also the symbol of a family’s power and prosperity. The orange trees both fruitful and fruitless remind us of the Battle of San Marino by Paolo Ucchellus. Without Lorenzo’s strong support it was impossible for Botticelli or any other artist to make such creation inspired by mythological pagan god and goddess. Still, there was people like Savanorola who was not only fanatic but also against pagan mythology. Primavera is thought to have been commissioned by Lorenzo de Pierfrancesco de Medici. This painting reflects the ideas and thoughts of the philosophers, poets and humanists gathered around de Magnificent. This painting is also inspired by the poems of Lorenzo. Both of Primavera and Birth of Venus are full of symbols and their meaning is still a scholarly debate.


[1] Hall, Dictionary of Subjects and Symbols of Art, 330

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