Culture and Recreation

Fine Art

Why is Botticelli’s The Birth of Venus famous?

This immediately recognizable painting (c. 1482) is most likely known for its elegant figures, use of pictorial space, and decorative detail, which give the painting a tapestry effect. At the time it was painted, the presentation of a nude Venus was an innovation since the use of unclothed figures in art had been prohibited during the Middle Ages (500–1350). Botticelli, however, felt free to render Venus in this way since the work was commissioned by Florence’s powerful Medici family, who were his patrons. Under their protection, Botticelli could pursue the world of his imagination without fearing charges of paganism and infidelity.

Though The Birth of Venus is extremely well known, The Magnificat (1483), Botticelli’s round picture of the Madonna with singing angels, is his most copied work.

Botticelli’s well-known painting Birth of Venus was commissioned by Florence’s powerful Medici family.

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