Myths in Renaissance Artworks

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Myths are a “body of beliefs, fables, or legends belonging to a people, usually involving spiritual tales that reflect the philosophy of the culture” (Comstack, 2014). The important function that myths serve in society is telling why good and evil exist and the consequences of behaving outside of cultural norms. “Joseph Campbell described the hero and other myths as reflections of universal ideas, or the collective experiences of people all over the world” (Comstack, 2014).

Myths have different meanings around the world depending on people’s cultural views. Overtime, myths have been reworked and handed down through generations until they have become as common literature in the modern world just like they were told in past generations. (Cormstack, 2014).

Basically, myths still tell the same story even though the way they are told is different in the modern world and will continue to evolve as times change. Although myths have changed in the way they are told they still have the same outcome; where the moral or outcome remains the same but the story is told in a more reasonable way. The whole basis of a myth is ever-changing as times change, where in the past the stories resemble life as it is being lived and in the present the stories resembles life that has yet to be lived.

The artist of this artwork is Alessandro di Mariano Filipepi also more commonly known as Sandro Botticelli was born in Florence, Italy in 1445 and he died in 1510. Botticelli was the youngest of four sons to his parents Mariano and Smeralda Filipepi. His father was a tanner and in his income for tax purposes stated that he had four sons and that Sandro was studious and sickly (Santi 3). “Due to his childhood illness, he left his mark in the melancholy tones of many of his paintings” ( Santi 3). When he was 19, Alessandro started working in the workshop of Fra Filippo Lippi, where he acquired a linear, detailed style of painting (Adam 54).

When his older brother Giovanni became a pawnbroker and earned the nickname “Botticella”, the name was later passed on to his famous brother Sandro (Santi 3). When Fra Filippo Lippi died in 1469, Sandro began his own workshop which later brought him both public acclaim and artistic prestige (Santi 3). “He was a painter of the Florentine School, working under the patronage of the wealthy and influential Medici family” (Adam 54). “Sandro Botticelli was a devoted Christian whose studio concentrated mainly on satisfying the demands of the public for devotional pictures of Saints, gentle- faced Virgins and the Holy child” (Hagen 93).

Botticelli never got married and it was “believed by many scholars that he loved a woman named Simonetta Vespucci, whom was already a married noblewoman” (Adam 54). In 1510 before Sandro Botticelli died, he asked to be buried at Simonetta’s feet (Adam 54).

The artwork I was assigned is The Birth of Venus that is a tempera painting that was created in 1485 AD by Sandro Botticelli. “His painting the Birth of Venus is considered one of the finest – and most enigmatic — examples of the graceful, linear style of the early Italian Renaissance (Adam 54).The Birth of Venus fits into this framework of human history because it was made in a time where the Medici family ruled over Florence, Italy during the renaissance time period.

“The allegorical scene produced by Botticelli for the Medici and their circle were the first Renaissance paintings in which scenes for classical mythology were represented on a large scale previously reserved for religious subjects” (Zuffi 132). The Birth of Venus is a tempera painting, which is also known as egg tempera, it is a fast drying painting medium. Botticelli created The Birth of Venus in 1485 in Florence on a 184.5 x 285.5cm tempera on canvas (Santi 31). The materials that were used to make this artwork was colored pigments mixed with a water-soluble binder medium, usually glutinous material such as egg yolk.

“Early Renaissance paintings depicted solid naturalistic forms, but the Birth of Venus is portrayed in a more linear, stylized, almost flat style” (Adam 54). In this particular painting Botticelli may have utilized this particular style to recollect ancient Greek vase painting (Adam 54).

The story, myth, or legend being depicted in The Birth of Venus is the story of “Aphrodite who is the Greek goddess of beauty and love, whom the Romans called Venus” (Hagan 93). In the artwork it shows that Aphrodite (Venus) was reborn in Renaissance Florence. The artwork representation of Venus is of her as a life sized naked women that was arisen from the waves, borne on the breath of wind, and is seen approaching the shore on a shell (Hagen 93).

Cite this paper

Myths in Renaissance Artworks. (2021, Jun 23). Retrieved from https://samploon.com/myths-in-renaissance-artworks/

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