Greek and Roman Myths in Art



 

 



Venus

 



see also: Venus - The Evening Star
 


see also:

The Odyssey of Homer


illustrations by John Flaxman

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Greek and Roman Myths in Art

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see also EXPLORATION (in Russian):

Homer  "Iliad "and "Odyssey"

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Apuleius "The Golden Asse"

illustrations by Jean de Bosschere and Martin Van Maele

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Longus

"The Pastorals, or the Loves of Daphnis and Chloe"

illustrations by Marc Chagall

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Greek and Roman Myths in Art
 

 

 


Venus
 




see also:
Venus - The Evening Star


 


Venus

(Encyclopaedia Britannica)


ancient Italian goddess associated with cultivated fields and gardens and later identified by the Romans with the Greek goddess of love, Aphrodite.

Venus had no worship in Rome in early times, as the scholar Marcus Terentius Varro (116–27 bc) shows, attesting that he could find no mention of her name in old records. This is corroborated by the absence of any festival for her in the oldest Roman calendar and by her lack of a flamen (special priest). Her cult among the Latins, however, seems to be immemorial, for she had apparently at least two ancient temples, one at Lavinium, the other at Ardea, at which festivals of the Latin cities were held. Hence, it was no long step to bring her to Rome, apparently from Ardea itself. But how she came to be identified with so important a deity as Aphrodite remains a puzzle.

That Venus’ identification with Aphrodite took place fairly early is certain. A contributory reason for it is perhaps the date (August 19) of the foundation of one of her Roman temples. August 19 is the Vinalia Rustica, a festival of Jupiter; hence, he and Venus came to be associated, and this facilitated their equation, as father and daughter, with the Greek deities Zeus and Aphrodite. She was, therefore, also a daughter of Dione, was the wife of Vulcan, and was the mother of Cupid. In myth and legend she was famous for her romantic intrigues and affairs with both gods and mortals, and she became associated with many aspects, both positive and negative, of femininity. As Venus Verticordia, she was charged with the protection of chastity in women and girls. But the most important cause of the identification was the reception into Rome of the famous cult of Venus Erycina—i.e., of Aphrodite of Eryx (Erice) in Sicily—this cult itself resulting from the identification of an Oriental mother-goddess with the Greek deity. This reception took place during and shortly after the Second Punic War. A temple was dedicated to Venus Erycina on the Capitol in 215 bc and a second outside the Colline gate in 181 bc. The latter developed in a way reminiscent of the temple at Eryx with its harlots, becoming the place of worship of Roman courtesans, hence the title of dies meretricum (“prostitutes’ day”) attached to April 23, the day of its foundation.

The importance of the worship of Venus-Aphrodite was increased by the political ambitions of the gens Iulia, the clan of Julius Caesar and, by adoption, of Augustus. They claimed descent from Iulus, the son of Aeneas; Aeneas was the alleged founder of the temple of Eryx and, in some legends, of the city of Rome also. From the time of Homer onward, he was made the son of Aphrodite, so that his descent gave the Iulii divine origin. Others than the Iulii sought to connect themselves with a deity grown so popular and important, notably Gnaeus Pompeius, the triumvir. He dedicated a temple to Venus as Victrix (“Bringer of Victory”) in 55 bc. Julius Caesar’s own temple (46 bc), however, was dedicated to Venus Genetrix, and as Genetrix (“Begetting Mother”) she was best known until the death of Nero in ad 68. But despite the extinction of the Julio-Claudian line, she remained popular, even with the emperors; Hadrian completed a temple of Venus at Rome in ad 135.

As a native Italian deity, Venus had no myths of her own. She therefore took over those of Aphrodite and, through her, became identified with various foreign goddesses. The most noteworthy result of this development is perhaps the acquisition by the planet Venus of that name. The planet was at first the star of the Babylonian goddess Ishtar and thence of Aphrodite. Because of her association with love and with feminine beauty, the goddess Venus has been a favourite subject in art since ancient times; notable representations include the statue known as the “Venus de Milo” (c. 150 bc) and the painting “The Birth of Venus” (c. 1485) by Sandro Botticelli.

 


Part I
 

 

 

 


Hans
von
Aachen
1552-1615
Germany

Venus, Bacchus and Cupid.

 


Francesco
Albani
1578-1660
Italy

Venus at her Toilet.
1618

 

Eugene
Amaury-Duval
1808-1885
France

Venus.

 

Paris
Bordone
1500-1571
Italy

Venus , Mars and Cupid.
1550
Kunsthistorisches Museum, Vienna

 

Paris
Bordone
1500-1571
Italy

Venus , Mars and Vulcan.

 

Francois 
Boucher
1703-1770
France

The Visit of Venus to Vulcan.
1754
Wallace Collection in London

 


Francois 
Boucher
1703-1770
France
Venus Consoling Love.
1751

 


Francois 
Boucher
1703-1770
France
Venus and Vulcan.

 


Francois 
Boucher
1703-1770
France
 The Toilet of Venus.
1751
Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York.

 


Francois Boucher
1703-1770
France
The Triumph of Venus.
1740
National Museum, Stockholm

 


Francois 
Boucher
1703-1770
France
Venus and Vulcan.

 


Adolphe-
William
Bouguereau 
1825-1905
France

The Birth of Venus.
1879

 

Annibale
Carracci
1560-1609
Italy

Venus with Satyr and Cupids.
1588
Uffizi

 


Sandro Botticelli
1445-1510
Italy
Venus and Mars.
1483

 

Sandro
Botticelli
1445-1510
Italy

Spring.
(Venus, Flora, Three Graces, Mercury, Zephyr and nymph Chloris)

 


Sandro
Botticelli
1445-1510
Italy
The Birth of Venus.
(Venus, Flora, Zephyr and nymph Chloris)

 

Cornelisz
(Cornelis
van
Haarlem)
1562-1638
Denmark

Mars and Venus.

 

Correggio
1489-1534
Italy

Venus with Mercury
and Cupid.
1525
National Gallery, London

 

Correggio
1489-1534
Italy

Venus, Satyr, and
Cupid.
1528
Musée du Louvre, Paris

 


Lucas
Cranach
the Elder
1472-1553
Germany

Venus Standing in a Landscape.
1529
Musée du Louvre, Paris

 

Lucas
Cranach
the Elder
1472-1553
Germany

Cupid Complaining to Venus.
1530

 

Lucas
Cranach
the Elder
1472-1553
Germany

Venus and Cupid.
1530
Gemaeldegalerie, Berlin

 

Lucas
Cranach
the Elder
1472-1553
Germany

Venus and Cupid.
1509
The Hermitage , St. Petersburg

 

Lorenzo di Credi
1458-1537
Italy

Venus.
1490

 

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