BOTTICELLI, Sandro
(b. 1445, Firenze, d. 1510, Firenze)

The Birth of Venus (detail)

c. 1485
Tempera on canvas
Galleria degli Uffizi, Florence

Despite the title of the painting, however, it is not the birth of the Goddess which is depicted, but rather her coming ashore on the island of Cythera, where she is supposed to have landed following her birth - thus Homer, the classical poet, in his hymn to Venus, which served Botticelli as literary source for his picture. On the left-hand side flies Zephyrus, God of Winds, the arms of the breeze Aura wrapped tightly around him. The two of them are endeavouring to blow the Goddess of Love ashore.