Blog Assignment #1

Sandro Botticelli’s Birth of Venus

The Birth of Venus was created by Sandro Botticelli around 1490 and is now on display in the Uffizi Gallery in Florence, Italy.  The enormous size of this painting (roughly 68 inches tall by 110 inches wide) makes Venus nearly life-size on the canvas.  The Medici family was one of Botticelli’s greatest supporters and privately commissioned this work in the late 1400’s (Reference 1).  There is some speculation about exactly when the Birth of Venus was created, but most sources agree that it was some time between 1480 and 1490.  It was also most likely created in Florence, though I could not find a source that stated this explicitly.  I came to this conclusion because the Medici family lived in Florence and Botticelli was born there and died there.  Therefore, it was most likely created there.
What I found most appealing about this work, initially, was that it could be easily tied to the Medici family, since they commissioned Botticelli to create it.  Upon closer examination of the work, however, I became more impressed with everything that Botticelli incorporated into it.  The painting literally tells a story if you know how to read it.  Venus was born and was being blown into shore by the wind god, Zephyr, holding his wife Chloris.  Once they arrive at shore, Hora, the goddess of summer, is waiting for her with a flowered garment.  Legend states that a rose bush bloomed upon her arrival, and thus roses can be seen blowing in the background.  Lastly, the orange trees along the shore are budding in anticipation for the great arrival of Venus.  I was amazed at how much of the story was clearly evident in the painting.  Botticelli also seems to use a Mannerist style in this work, departing from the artistic style of the High Renaissance.  This is evident in Venus’ strange pose, elongated neck, elongated limbs, and small head.

Let’s Get it Started

File:Burj Khalifa.jpgIt’s time for ART F200X.  As an engineering student, I see things like the Burj Khalifa as art.  It is a masterpiece of modern engineering as can be seen in the image to the left.  I will take every opportunity I can to post more engineering masterpieces on this blog.  Stay tuned for more.