Naissance de Venus

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William Adolphe Bouguereau

1825-1905

French Academic Classical painter, teacher, frescoist and draftsman

Naissance de Venus

Birth of Venus

1879

300 x 218 cms | 118 x 85 3/4 ins
Oil on canvas

Musee d'Orsay

Paris | France

Venus, known as the bringer of joy, Roman goddess of love and beauty stands on a shell in the middle of the ocean, surrounded by admirers. Two mermen use conch shells to trumpet her arrival as the angels that came to witness her birth ascend to heaven. This painting is truly a tour de force for Bouguereau, standing just over 9' 10" high, and just under 7'2" wide. Birth of Venus contains 22 fully worked out figures all of which come together to form an amazing composition. Bouguereau uses the goddess, Venus, as an exemplar of the Beauty in our lives. Bouguereau's Birth of Venus holds a strong resemblance to Botticelli's Birth of Venus, which also depicts Venus with long flowing hair standing on a similar shell.

-- by Kara Ross