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Bottecelli Birth of Venus (compared to Botticelli Text B in Canvas Module)

Michelle Speicher

"A young woman with nonhuman countenance, is carried on a conch shell, wafted to shore by playful zephyrs"

Tag #1

As we can see in this image, there is a nude Venus appearing from a shell looking figure. The text states that she was carried by a conch shell and wafted to shore by playful zephyrs. From doing more research on Zephyr, I have concluded that he is creating the wind gusts in the portrait, you can see with his mouth. This would make sense based on the look of wind blowing through her hair and flowers blowing in the breeze. Venus also looks almost ghastly with her pale skin and blank facial expression which might be why she is referred to as having a "nonhuman countenance" in the text.

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"With both hands one nymph holds above the spray-wet tresses a garland, burning with gold and oriental gems, another adjusts pearls in her ears; the third, intent upon those beautiful breasts and white shoulders, appears to strew round them the rich necklaces with which they three girded their own necks when they used to dance in a ring in heaven"

Tag #2

This quote tells the actions of the three nymphs surrounding Venus. I immediatley noticed a discrepancy between the painting and the text. There is only one nymph, believed to be Hora, portrayed in the Birth of Venus. Another discrepancy I noticed between this quote and the painting, is the description of the nymphs. None of the descriptons for each of the nymphs match the visual depiction of Hora. The quote describes them of having a very grandious look while the picture portrays a more nature-like earthy look.

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"You could swear that the goddess had emerged from the waves, pressing her hair with her right hand, covering with the other her sweet mound of flesh"

Tag #3

I decided to tag this quote because it has great accuracy with the painting. If I were to just read the quote and visualize a picture in my head, it would look like Bottecelli's portrayal of Venus. The only slight discrepancy that I could hypothesize, is the use of specific hands. The text states, " pressing her hair with her right hand, covering with the other her sweet mound of flesh", which leads me to think that her hand positions would be opposite that what is seen in the painting. I believe mound of flesh would mean her breasts.

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"The Hours treading the beach in white garments, the breeze curling their loosened and flowing hair; their faces not one, not different, as befits sisters."

Tag #4

After researching more about the vocabulary in this quote, specifically the word hours, I have come to the conclusion that the selected quote and Bottecelli's paintings do not align with eachother. After doing research, I learned that "Hours" are known to be goddesses of the seasons and the natural portions of time. They are physical people. No where in the landscape of Bottecelli's painting are there any goddesses to be seen "curling their loosened and flowing hair" in the distance on the beach.

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"It had clothed itself in flowers and grass; then with happy, more than mortal features, she was received in the bosom of the three nymphs and cloaked in a starry garment."

Tag #5

This quote is very literal and is portrayed clearly in the painting. We can see the beautiful flowers being blown towards Venus by Zephyr in the wind. We are also able to clearly see the nymph, Hora, giving Venus a lovely flower cloak to cover herself with.

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Summary

The Birth of Venus showed a perfect balance of staying true to the historical text while also pursuing Bottecelli's own personal creative artist perspective. When I was analyzing and comparing the text to the painting, I found that I was clearly able to understand the story being told even though the pictures are not direct depictions of the words. For example, although the three nymphs were not pictured in the painting, I was still able to understand their purpose through just seeing the image of Hora. I thorougly enjoyed Bottecelli's persepctive. I find this image to be a graceful and virtuous representation of a woman's beauty.