Symbols encrypted in Venus by Botticelli
Botticelli’s appeal to the pagan story, and even with a nude nature, may, at first glance, seem strange. Indeed, in the early 1480s, the artist seems to have devoted himself to Christian art. Thus, in 1481–1482 Sandro painted the Sistine Chapel in Rome, and in 1485 “Madonna and Child”, “Madonna Magnificat” and “Madonna with a book”. But this is an external contradiction.
The great Italian painter Sandro Botticelli did not see anything sinful in a naked female body. Moreover, he saw in it the allegory of the voice of God. In fact, according to his worldview, Botticelli was close to the Florentine Neo-Platonists. In particular, the union headed by the philosopher Marsilio Ficino, who sought to synthesize ancient wisdom with Christian doctrine.
According to the ideas of the Neo-Platonists, the unknowable God always embodies himself in earthly beauty, be it physical or spiritual beauty — one without the other is impossible. Thus, the pagan goddess of the Neoplatonists became an allegory of the voice of God through which the soul is saved. Marsilio Ficino called Venus the nymph of Humanity, “born of heaven and more than others beloved by God. Her soul is the essence of Love and Mercy, her eyes are Dignity and Generosity, her hands are Generosity and Magnificence, and her legs are Comfort and Modesty ”.
Such a synthesis of Christianity and paganism is also present in the work of Botticelli.
Category Archive: Code
Symbols encrypted in Venus by Botticelli
Symbolic Death of Ophelia by Sir John Everett Millais
Known as “Ophelia” or “Death of Ophelia” (1851-1852) – a picture of the English Pre-Raphaelite artist Sir John Everett Millais, completed by him in 1852. At the heart of the picture is the plot of Shakespeare’s play Hamlet. However, this painting, exhibited at the Royal Academy of Arts in 1852, was far from immediately appreciated by contemporaries.
Beloved of Prince Hamlet, upon learning that he had killed her father Polonius, Ophelia became obsessed and committed suicide by drowning in the river. As the gravediggers say in the play, “her death is dark. If it were not for the order from the king, she would lie in the land of the uninitiated.”
The artist depicted Ophelia right after falling into the river, when her wreaths hang on the willow branches. She sings woeful songs, half submerged in water. Her pose – open arms, and her gaze directed to the sky – cause associations with the Crucifixion of Christ, and also often interpreted as erotic. The girl slowly sinks into the water against a bright, blooming nature. Her face has no panic or despair. Although death is inevitable, in the picture the time seems to be frozen. Millais managed to masterfully capture the moment that passes between life and death.
In fact, the plants and flowers in the river – the “whimsical garlands” that Ophelia had woven, also bear symbolic meaning.
Symbolic Rooster Chinese painting
In China, Rooster is considered the main symbol of the element Yang, and a carrier of many advantages. Male principle bird, Bird of Glory, meaning – vigilance, bravery, courage, foresight, and reliability. Rooster – the messenger of dawn, the sun and the symbol of spiritual rebirth. Rooster – the tenth symbolic animal of the Twelve Earthly Branches (Eastern Zodiac) and in the astrological sense – it corresponds to October, when in the ancient times in China made preparations for war.
In the work of Chinese contemporary artist working in the style of Guohua, Feng Yingjie roosters take honorable place. The image of the Rooster includes a number of different symbolic meanings reflected in the Chinese literature and philosophy.
Iris symbolism and painting
Iris got its name from the ancient Greek physician Hippocrates, named in honor of the Greek goddess Iris, the patron saint of the rainbow, which descended from Olympus to the people in the seven-colored robe. Known to the people for a very long time, the unusual structure of the flower makes it very attractive for artists. Iris inspired artists since the most ancient times: on the island of Crete the mural, located on the wall of the palace of Knossos, shows a priest, surrounded by blooming irises. The 4,000 year-old fresco of iris was found on Crete among the paintings of Knossos palace, built at the end of the III millennium BC. Iris adorned the arms of the city of Florence. The Romans named the town, surrounded by plantations of white iris, Florence, meaning “blossoming.”
Pierrot and Harlequin eternal conflict
Pierrot et Arlequin, or “Mardi Gras” – the picture painted in 1888-1890 by French artist Paul Cezanne (1839-1906). It belongs to the State Museum of Fine Arts Pushkin in Moscow, located in the gallery of art of Europe and America, XIX-XX centuries. The constant conflict between two temperaments – Piero (Italian version – Pedrolino) and Harlequin, traditional characters of Italian commedia dell’arte. As for models, for Cezanne posed his son Paul and his friend Louis Guillaume. Cezanne paints arrogance and cynicism of a quirky and cheerful Harlequin and insincerity of shy and secretive Piero. It seems that dreamy Pierrot is thinking about something else, but if you look closely, you can see how he secretly wants to push Harlequin.
Chinese wisdom in painting
In the flower language of China, pink rose is the true love and friendship, and white rose expresses pure love, women’s crystal clear soul. White-pink roses seem particularly delicate on peach paper with gold highlights. Signature “flowers of soul luxuriantly bloom“. Moscow based artist Galina (aka Progalina) is passionate about oriental culture, Chinese wisdom in painting, and philosophy hidden in hieroglyphs.
Juriaen van Streeck vanity still life
For those who love to discover the hidden codes in paintings, any Dutch still life is a real find. In allegorical still life vanitas even the smoke from the pipe is not just smoke, but an ephemeral symbol of our hopes. Dutch still life – a corporeal admiration of the world. Even when the canvas depicts a luxury edibles and cups of wine, they are symbols of death and the transience of earthly life. Dutch Golden Age painter of still lifes Juriaen van Streeck (1632 – 1687) demonstrates such type of vanity of vanities, indicating the transience of life.