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Aphrodite- Goddess of Love Painting in Florence, Italy

The depiction of the archetype of the goddess Aphrodite is beautifully rendered in the famous painting called “The Birth of Venus” by Sandro Botticelli painted in 1486 and now is on display at the Uffizi Gallery in Florence, Italy. I had the pleasure of seeing the real thing in October of this year while traveling in Northern Italy. The image here is a photograph I took of the original painting in the Uffizi. Some galleries and museums prohibit taking pictures of the art, but it is allowed in the Uffizi as long as no flash or strobe is used, and no tripod as well, so it is possible to collect personal images of great art to study and enjoy. This painting was commissioned by the famous and powerful Medici family of Florence, although the origin and symbolism remains obscure. For the Florentine Platonic Academy-Venus had two aspects: she was an earthly goddess who aroused humans to physical love or she was a heavenly goddess who inspired intellectual love in them.

Whether the message of the painting is religious or pagan is open to speculation, and viewed from a religious standpoint, the nudity of Venus suggests that of Eve before the Fall in the Garden of Eden as well as the pure love of Paradise.

The central figure of Venus in the painting is similar to Praxiteles’ sculpture of Aphrodite, with this version of her birth showing her rising from the sea already a fully grown women.

Since classical antiquity, the sea shell has been a metaphor for a women’s vulva. The sea is seen as a symbol of inexhaustible and vital energy and a reservoir of countless sunken treasures. It represents the unconscious.

Aphrodite is also the goddess of creativity and fulfillment, process and transformation —her nature instilled in lovers the ability to develop, learn, grow, and change through the power of passionate union and sexual energy. For us, Aphrodite’s legacy endures, inspiring both men and women with her spirit of love, sensuality, and beauty.

Creativity, love , beauty, passion, sensuality, energy, transformation are the sources of our own happiness, and the key to physical and emotional health for everyone. The gift of art is its visual manifestation of our essential emotions.

P. Miller

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