EXHIBITION DESCRIPTION: Venus has been an iconic figure of beauty throughout history and one of the most produced figures in the art world. While our culture’s current perception of beauty changes with time, Venus represents the eternal standard for beauty throughout the ages. With the title of the Roman Goddess of love and beauty, Venus is s**posed to be the epitome of idealized beauty love and grace but was ironically born of violence. She represents the strength of women with her power over men with her feisty personality and enamoring beauty.
This exhibition features the general idea that beauty is in the eye of the beholder, and that the question of what is beauty can change across time and culture. Artists featured in this exhibit portray this goddess in a different ways, whether that be through materials, color palettes, landscapes, and figure types. Pieces were pulled from an array of different centuries to explore the similarities and differences between each culture and time period. Each piece has features that portray this beautiful goddess in a uniquely different way. Even though there is no way to know what Venus actually looks like, all of these paintings manage to capture her beauty and portray it successfully to the viewers. In honor of Valentine’s day please explore this exhibition and find out for yourself what beauty truly means and how it has adapted over time.
PIECE #1 TITLE: TRIUMPH OF VENUS ARTIST: Francois Bucher LINK: <a href="http://www.googleartproject.com/collection/nationalmuseum-stockholm/artwork/the-triumph-of-venus-francois-boucher/462059/details/">http://www.googleartproject.com/collection/nationalmuseum-stockholm/artwork/the-triumph-of-venus-francois-boucher/462059/details/</a>
PERSPECTIVE: This painting by Francois Bucher is a stunning landscape with many figures that portrays Venus and beauty through a slightly different manner then others in this exhibition. This painting was included in the exhibition for the purpose of its differences in composition. Although it continues with the theme of Venus as a female ****, the use of the sea and rocky landscape beautifully communicates love and beauty to the viewer. Venus remains the main focus, but she is very miniscule within the composition compared to other pieces where she takes ** a majority of the piece. The artist highlights her appearance with the use of brighter flesh tones to give her a glowing effect to stand out amongst the other figures. Francois uses a muted color palette to also highlight Venus as she lies on the rocks. This piece as a whole has a lot more action and detail then others in the exhibit but I believe it still successfully communicates the underlying theme of love and beauty through landscapes and detail.
PIECE #2 TITLE: VENUS WITH A MIRROR ARTIST: Titian LINK: <a href="http://www.nga.gov/collection/gallery/gg23/gg23-41.html">http://www.nga.gov/collection/gallery/gg23/gg23-41.html</a>
PERSPECTIVE: This piece by Titian contributes an early time period representation of Venus. It portrays Venus’s beauty through use of rich colors and textures, such as the red velvet garment that is draped across her as well as the textural contrasts in the metallic embroidery and jewels. As the earliest piece within the exhibition, this piece really showcases Titian’s talent and attention to detail and techniques that were popular during this time period in the late renaissance in Venice. Venus is depicted in a classical pose in the **** while she gazes into the mirror held by c**id at her reflection. Nudity is a similarity that is cohesive amongst all the pieces within this exhibit. Titian’s piece celebrates the ideal beauty of the female form, which perfectly fits with the theme of this exhibition.
PIECE #3 TITLE: VENUS ARTIST: Rombout Verhulst LINK: <a href="http://www.googleartproject.com/collection/koninklijk-paleis-amsterdam/artwork/venus-rombout-verhulst/413340/details/0-details/">http://www.googleartproject.com/collection/koninklijk-paleis-amsterdam/artwork/venus-rombout-verhulst/413340/details/0-details/</a>
PERSPECTIVE: This piece by Rombout Verhulst is a stunning addition to this exhibition. This is one of two sculptures within this exhibit and I chose this piece because it portrays beauty in a different way. Because it is a sculpture, and not a painting, the artist did not have the opportunity to portray love through color, but instead through carving and the contrasts of light and dark. In this piece there are many aspects that tie back to nature and earth with the use of fruit, flowers, and animals, which can take away from the real symbolism of the piece, which was s**posed to be divine love. The artist took a more earthly love approach to the piece, but nonetheless it communicates love and beauty, which I believe still fits the theme of this exhibition. Once again, we see a female **** here, but with more emotion and movement which was typical of the art in this time period and area.
PIECE #4 TITLE: THE BIRTH OF VENUS ARTIST: Alexandre Cabanel LINK: <a href="http://www.musee-orsay.fr/en/collections/works-in-focus/search/commentaire_id/la-naissance-de-venus-7082.html?no_cache=1&tx_commentaire_pi1%255Bsword%255D=Cabanel&tx_commentaire_pi1%255BpidLi%255D=509%252C842%252">http://www.musee-orsay.fr/en/collections/works-in-focus/search/commentaire_id/la-naissance-de-venus-7082.html?no_cache=1&tx_commentaire_pi1%5Bsword%5D=Cabanel&tx_commentaire_pi1%5BpidLi%5D=509%2C842%2</a>
PERSPECTIVE: Like Bucher, Cabanel incorporates a seascape into his painting of the Venus. However, this piece is a much more simplistic approach with Venus taking ** a majority of the composition as she lays on the surface of the ocean with multiple c**ids flying above her. It is said that Venus was born of sea foam and carried ashore and this is the action that is being depicted in this painting. Many depictions of Venus are painted **** and in the reclining position, but this one especially provokes a different feeling then some of the others, and that was the reason I decided to incorporate this piece into my exhibition. Even though the reclining **** pose was very idealized throughout the centuries, this piece specifically portrays Venus in a more lascivious pose, which introduces eroticism within the piece. Due to the fact that Venus was a classical subject, Cabanel was able to portray this eroticism without offending the public morality. I believe that ****** desire is an important factor of love and beauty, and therefore fits in with the theme of my exhibition because it portrays beauty through a different means then others of it’s time.
PIECE #5 TITLE: AFRICAN VENUS ARTIST: Charles-Henri-Joseph Cordier LINK: <a href="http://art.thewalters.org/detail/15324">http://art.thewalters.org/detail/15324</a>
PERSPECTIVE: This sculpture by Cordier depicts a very different type of beauty by using Race as an influential portrayal of the mythological goddess of Venus. Cordier, unlike many other artists took a completely different approach of conveying Venus’ beauty by making her a different ethnicity. Most artists throughout the different time periods and locations have depicted Venus as a Caucasian woman, often with light brown hair. However, Cordier’s Venus is of a completely different race. Now this doesn’t mean she is any less beautiful then the other depictions or pieces of Venus, but it is just a different view. People sometimes assume there are certain ways someone has to look, and it is often seen with other classical figures. But Cordier defied those assumptions and chose to depict Venus as a beautiful African women, instead of the “typical Venus” we commonly see. It should be clear why I chose this piece to be included into my exhibition, because along with all the other pieces I chose to include, it conveys an important message. That message being that beauty cannot be generalized to a set of certain characteristics or features. Even though many artists did use those characteristics and features to create their own interpretation of Venus, this one however stands out amongst the rest and shows us that beauty does come in all different forms. I chose to place this piece at the end of my exhibition to communicate that to the viewers and hopefully be able to come full circle and understand the main message of my theme for this exhibition.