Boticelli’s Birth of Venus

This week’s featured piece is Boticelli’s masterpiece, The Birth of Venus.

Botticelli’s Birth of Venus is one of the most treasured artworks of the Renaissance. In it the goddess Venus (known as Aphrodite in Greek mythology) emerges from the sea on a shell depicting the myth of her birth. Her shell is pushed to the shore  by winds from the lovingly entwined gods Zephyrus and Aura and pink flowers float down around her. As Venus is about to step onto the shore, a nymph reaches out to cover her with a cloak.

The Birth of Venus

Venus is illustrated as a beautiful and chaste goddess and symbol of the coming spring. Her depiction as a nude is significant in itself, given that during this time in Renaissance history almost all artwork was of a Christian theme, and nude women were hardly ever portrayed.

Many aspects of Botticelli’s Birth of Venus are in motion. For example, the leaves of the trees in the background, ringlets of hair being blown by the Zephyrs, the roses floating behind her, the white tipped waves, and the cloaks of the figures blown by the breeze.

The pose of Botticelli’s Venus is reminiscent of the Venus de Medici, a marble sculpture and gem inscription from Classical antiquity in the Medici collection which Botticelli had opportunity to study.

The original painting by Sandro Boticelli (1445-1510) is held in Uffizi Gallery in Florence.  The Birth of Venus wall mural features in our Scala Archives Collection of fine art images.

View more from Scala or create a Boticelli  masterpiece in your own home.


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