Venus And Mars By Sandro Botticelli



2015-06-26 10:30:37

Venus and Mars is a painting made in 1483 by the Italian Renaissance painter Sandro Botticelli.


Sandro Botticelli is the most renowned Florentine painter of the second half of the 15th century. However, he was only discovered in late 19th century after his stress on line and contour struck with the modern sensibility.


The painting displays the Roman goddess Venus and the god Mars in a symbol of Beauty and Valour. Venus is painted watching Mars sleep, whereas two infant male companions carry his armor and another resting under his arm. A fourth one attempts to awaken him by blowing a conch shell in his ear. The landscape of the painting is a forest with the sea, where Venus surfaced from being seen from a distance. A swarm of wasps is seen hanging around Mars’ head, perhaps a representation that time and again love comes with pain.

In this painting, Botticelli’s Neo-Platonist outline is carried out through a set of conflicting colors ranging from dark colors to bright colors. It is a work both traditional and modern and its theme can be deduced in much number of ways. The deficiency of information close to its origin has made it even more fascinating. Actually there is no accurate literally allusion for this painting, but there was a close fairy tale in a poem by Angelo Ambrogini, Poliziano. In stanza 122, he illustrates how the hero found Venus “seated on the periphery of her sofa just after being freed from the embrace of Mars, who was lying on his back in her lap with his eyes glued to her face”.


Sandro Botticelli used tempera technique to paint Venus and Mars. This is a long lasting medium of painting which dries fast. It’s conventionally created by crashing dry powdered pigments by hand and putting them into a binding agent for instance water, honey glue or even an egg. Tempera painting begins with having a modest quantity of the pigment medium into a bowl or dish and adding an equal volume of the binder and then mixed.


An article in The Telegraph (UK) claimed that Sandro Botticelli’s Venus and Mars painting does not portray post coital ecstasy but Jimson Weed (Datura stramonium) poisoning. David Bellingham claims that a plant being held by a wayward-looking satyr at the bottom right corner of Sandro’s painting has been acknowledged as a sample of Datura stramonium, a plant that causes insanity and the push to take one’s clothes off.

An explanation from London’s National Gallery, which exhibits the painting comments that the scene is an adulterous relationship since Venus was the wife of Vulcan the god of fire.

Notable auction sales

The most notable auction was where it was acquired by the National Gallery in London in the 19th century. Today, it is still displayed in the National Gallery in London.

Appearance at the exhibitions

The Venus and Mars painting appeared in the National Gallery in London, UK. This happened after the gallery acquired five of Sandro Botticelli’s paintings between 1857 and 1878.

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