Aphrodite vs. Birth of Venus Essay

1793 WordsJun 4, 20128 Pages
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…show more content…
In The Birth of Venus the audience sees the Goddess Venus the moment she is born from the sea foam. Venus has rode to the shore from what appears to be a calm blue sea carried by a giant shell, which has been a recurring representation for the women’s vaginal parts. Hierarchy of the scale makes the shell of high importance, hinting at the sexual arousal that Venus illuminates. The calm blue sea does not appear to be a wild or crashing sea that would have normally been seen in reality. With Zephyrus, the west wind, blowing his breeze it is astounding that there is not one wave behind Venus. This could represent that power that the gods have over the humanly world and its elements. Viewers understand that Aphrodite of Knidos is nude to symbolize her heavenly birth from the sea. Aphrodite’s gesture of shielding her womanly parts is not a representation of shame but more so her fertility. Not only do the hydra and drapery help the statue to stand, function with compositional proportions but it represents the eternal youth through ritual cleansing and renewal. Another symbolic feature is the bracelet that is around her arm, which was said to have been a token of gratitude for Praxiteles sculpture. The paramount representation in Praxiteles and Botticelli’s pieces is the work as a whole brings much more depth and intelligence to the nude form of their goddess which puts originality into each. The biggest controversy

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