Botticelli’s "The Birth of Venus": The Original Blond Bombshell

 

As part of Sotheby’s Most Famous Artworks in the World series, this episode of Anatomy of an Artwork examines Sandro Botticelli’s The Birth of Venus, now housed in the Uffizi Gallery of Florence, Italy. Completed circa 1484-1486, this monumental masterpiece measures 67.9 by 109.6 inches and was executed on two canvases stitched together before the artist began painting. The deities are represented in a Gothic style despite the painting’s classical subject and contain a number of clues as to who commissioned the work. Most likely ordered by a member of the House of Medici, the laurel trees that adorn the top-right corner of the canvas possibly allude to the ruler of Florence, Lorenzo de Medici or his cousin, Lorenzo di Pierfrancesco de Medici. As one of the most recognizable single pieces of art ever produced, The Birth of Venus remains a consistent source of inspiration for street art, fashion, books and film.

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