Friday, February 19, 2010

The Friday Evening Nudes - I'm Your Venus

A goddess on a mountain top
Burning like a silver flame 
A summit of beauty and love
And Venus was her name...

Venus of Willendorf

Lucas Cranach the Elder
William-Adolphe Bouguereau
The Birth of Venus

 Birth of Venus



Venus the Milo
The Louvre

Sandro Botticelli


  1. I found it fascinating that, more than with any other Friday set of yours that I recall, these figures all draw the eye to the abdomen. Beautiful, fruitful shapes, soft yet young and new. The promise of the ultimate womb, the center of birth and beginnings. The promise of Venus. The purpose proposed by anthropologists for the carving from Willendorf...

    This seemed like the perfect subject for the Academy painters of the late 1800s (Gerome, Bouguereau). I can't recall where it is - here in NC or in the museum in Richmond, I think - a nearly lifesize painting of a young woman, nude to the waist, in profile, seated, leaning forward and holding Cupid at arm's length. She has a determined, youthful face, and a serious capable smile. She's not falling just yet. It's also French, painted in the Academy style, and it stops me in my tracks every time I see it because it's so perfectly balanced, and the figure is so perfectly beautiful and completely unaware of it. Perhaps this is what is so appealing about the Birth of Venus, as a theme. She's still unaware of her perfect charms - still innocent.

    The reclining Venuses in this set seem less innocent, deliberately alluring, even (Titian - borrowed much of his figure from Giorgione?). And Cranach's Venus seems dangerous. A woman who could toss the entire Greek and Trojan world into a maelstrom to reward a young man after a favorable judgement, and who then would ultimately be unable to defend him from the consequences. And never mind whole nations of innocent bystanders...

    Lovely set.

  2. well, hands down, the top one! ;) she has always had a special little place in my heart...your blog is looking really good, dear gina, and you sure didn't need any of my help! I am wondering how you did the thing at the top or if that is the pages thingy...i will have to check that , i am about ready to move all my sidebar down below too, it's getting so cluttered no matter what i do...i like my big photos too much!
    have a good weekend!

  3. I love that first Birth of Venus. I used to be built like that, but now I'm looking more and more line the stone statue (without the knitted cap! LOL)

  4. What a beautiful idea for the Friday Evening nudes. I've always been especially fond of the Botticelli and some of the others were new to me. Steve's comments were enjoyable as always.

  5. So many glorious venuses. I love the Willendorf Venus.

  6. Venus is wonderful, but I do love Gerome, riding the wave.

  7. The Willendorf Venus is one of my favorites, too. The womb, yes, as Steve pointed out.

    And did I forget Botticelli? Sugar! That is one of my favorites. I guess I must have taken her for granted. ;-)

  8. I mean The Birth of Venus by Botticelli - the one with the clam shell.

  9. Steve: the comment you made about the Cranach Venus reminded me of a song by Suzanne Vega, which I'll now have to post. This is the painting that was banned by the authorities in London when it was proposed as a poster on the London underground. I don't remember if it actually ever made it to the public and then was banned or if it never was put up due to censorship. Maybe she looks too dangerous! ;-)


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